without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
With all the fuckery that Freedom Call has been slavishly engaging in these days, it's easy to forget that they were once a pretty good band, pushing out great albums like this one. Eternity was their third album, and while basically all it does is shamelessly rip off 80s Helloween, I find it quite enjoyable. It is good shameless ripping-off, done with a lot of class and heart, and a whole lot of youthful energy to boot. This was Freedom Call's musical peak, and although they had more creativity before this, I actually think this is one of the very best "feel good" Power Metal albums ever penned down. Just stellar all around. But enough about that, let's dig into the music itself:
Eternity is crafted from a very typical and generic Power Metal base, offering absolutely nothing new or fresh to the genre except a collection of great songs, and if a band can do that right, then they at least have some talent, I say. The album pretty much runs through all of the stereotypes, with big, mid-paced anthems, speedy, double-bass-driven kickers, ballads and the whole deal. The reason this is such a good album is that Freedom Call are just doing what they do best; peddling out enjoyable and high-flying Power Metal with enough charisma and energy to rock the entire world if they tried. Everything just sort of fits into place, with no real clinkers at all - even the closing ballad "Turn Back Time" is a steady grower!
There's just no shortage of great songs on here. The opening "Metal Invasion" isn't amazing, but it sets the mood and grooves mightily with a choir-infested romp that will whisk you away to a land of dragons and rings and spells like no other. "Flying High" and "Ages of Power" are the fastest songs on here, with chorus hooks that will knock your teeth out, and then the catchy "Land of Light" is just a lot of fun, a real spirit lifter if there ever was one. All of these songs are about as addictive as caffeine, and just as energizing and motivating, too, although they might not burn you out after the effect wears off. "Bleeding Heart" is a very nice ballad, with some great hooks and shamelessly 80s-like synths and melodies, but the real good stuff comes later on.
Just listen to "Flame in the Night," with its atmospheric keys and huge, hymn-like chorus - stellar! And how about "Island of Dreams"? This song kills, with one of the best, most triumphant Power Metal choruses ever, and that is saying a lot. Just listen to that great hook, how it soars right up to the clouds and then settles there, matching the sun with its radiance. "Eyes of the World" is a riveting, colorful jaunt with a truly mesmerizing hook, and then "Warriors" takes the prize for best on here, I think, as it is by far the catchiest, and that anthemic feel really brings it up a notch. The completely awesome choir chant in the middle really seals the deal, too; it's just something you'll have to hear to witness. Freedom Call didn't really do anything groundbreaking here, but they did make an enjoyable album that I find myself coming back to again and again, and for that I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
Written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Wow, as much as I enjoy this album, it definitely falls into the category of music that you would listen to (and enjoy) by yourself, but would be mortified if anyone you know ever caught you listening to it (E.g. Hearts - Desire walks on). I have no qualms about power metal, or cheese, or any combination of the two. I like to think I listen to metal more for the atmosphere and riffage rather than some profoundly evil, otherworldly, poetically blahbably lyrics. Judged by that merit, Eternity is an awesome album, almost every song is so catchy that I still find them in my head after going a week or 2 without touching this album. Top-notch vocals complimented on many of the songs by emotional chorus's that almost make you want to jump up and sing about giving praise to the metal invasion. The songs are fast and nothing drags on. Clean sounding guitars are almost a standard with power metal, and the dead on playing wouldn't let even the pickiest down. Drums are nicely hidden in the background, with occasional appearances by a piano and what sounds to be some form of trumpet. No real problems, these guys are definitely talented musicians, and a joy to listen to.
Speaking of joy brings me back to the cheese factor, which I feel needs addressing seeing that even thought this IS a power metal album, the overly happy sound is by far the most prominent feature of this album (very catchy songs coming in a close second). Take Manowar, full of cheesy goodness, but they still retain a bit of a rough edge that makes songs about gods making heavy metal a bit easier to enjoy. Comparing the aforementioned Gods of true metal to Freedom is like comparing a fuzzy naval to a glass of Donald Duck brand OJ. Both are fruity, but one has bite. Whether or not you will love or loathe this album basically boils down to how much you can tolerate such soft vocals.
The cover artwork is pretty decent, really sets the mood for the album (basically a winged statue illuminating a cave filled with a huddled mass of worshippers). Not too sure why they felt that Eternity was such a clever name that they had to repeat it on the cover not once, or twice, but three times. I'm sure they had their reasons. Unfortunately the insides of the albums booklet are filled with a group portrait that screams homo. Subsequent pictures of various band members sitting in odd poses, trying their best to look like they are in some sort of deep thought, or wondering why the photographer keeps winking at them. Great, much better than an almost neked chick or dragon, or even better, both. Hell, I could even handle a zombie or hobbit as long as they pay their due respects to skin, namely bikini or scaly. Why there isn't an effort to make the insides of a CD booklet even remotely interesting is beyond me. Take Iron Maidens DoD for example, awesome ghosts grace the photos of the band members inside the booklet, making the booklet something more interesting than a simple listing of the lyrics. I think its called atmosphere, something every power metal band tries their best to achieve. Oh, and the songs listed in the booklet have little bearing to the order in which they appear on the CD, sloppy.
Ignoring the lyrics, the overall feel of the album is very cheery and uplifting. I always feel pretty good after the semi epic riffs start flowing, and the vocals fit flawlessly with the guitars. It seems pretty natural and nothing really feels out of place (other than the instance when they try and evil growl on Aces of Power). Nothing on here has me reaching for the skip track button. Hard for me to pick a favorite, but a great example of what the band has to offer is Warriors. The song sets out at a quick pace, and with a nice, almost Celtic sounding guitar pushing the song along. The only real downfall is most of the music seems to be chorus based vocals, too many of the songs end up sounding similar.
The two tracks that don't seem to fit onto the album (even though that's a bit of a stretch, most of the songs sound like a continuation of the previous one) are Turn back time, and Bleeding Heart. Both can probably best be described as overly long, overly emotional, wanky little metal love songs. Not a bad listen, but just not quite up to the feel of the rest of the album.
Hell, while I'm at it, I’ll list some of the lines off one of the tracks just to prepare you for what you're in store for, keep in mind the songs are still great to listen to.
Can you see my bleeding heart,
Can you heal my heart
We shared a life, a world of lies
You are gone, no reason to cry
When I believed yin you and me,
In all you words
Of love and harmony
When our love began
I gave you my hand
There's still my bleeding heart
Pretty touching stuff, I can only hope he's singing it with a woman (or at the very least, a dragon) in mind, rather than a fellow band member.
If you can stomach Gouda with a side of catchy power metal, you'll love this album, highly recommended. If you find the thought of metal love songs and warriors of light disturbing, you'll never enjoy this album to any degree. Steer clear.