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An Epic interlude. - 91%

hells_unicorn, June 1st, 2008

Almost immediately following the release of their magnum opus debut, Freedom Call hit the ground running with some successful tours and some new song ideas. What resulted was this little EP that was meant to be an exclusive treat for Japan and France, where the band had achieved the most success. As far as EPs go in general, this is one of the best ones I’ve encountered due to the sheer quality of the work on here. Often bands will use this album format to get out any rarities, oddball leftovers from a previous full length album, and obligatory covers/remakes. But in the case of Taragon, the name given to the fictional planet that this trilogy takes place on, the music actually listens far better than a lot of their regular studio work.

The principle song on here “Tears of Taragon” has been extended to include a lengthy narration of the story contained within the CD jacket of the debut, performed by none other than Saxon front man Biff Byford. It is somewhat ironic that my initial impression upon hearing this song on the debut was of something similar to what that exact band would do. But aside from this 2 minute plus spoken line, the song remains mostly unaltered, especially that crazy noise ridden guitar solo that Sascha Gershner pulls off during the fade out. If I was Chris Bay, my biggest regret would be that I lost him to Helloween, because he was the best lead guitarist the band ever had and one of the better soloists in the German power metal scene.

The rest of the original music on here listens very similar to the music heard on the debut, but with a much slicker production and not quite as much harmonically heavy guitar track overdubs. “Heart of the Brave” is essentially a more compact and speed metal variant on the closing epic “Another Day” from the debut. There’s no tubular bell theme, the piano part isn’t quite as prominent, and the chorus is much simpler and focused on a fanfare approach, but it owns all the way through. “Kingdom Come” was a bonus track on one edition of the debut, but it sounds less out of place on here. It’s the first true ballad to come out of this band, devoid of any speed metal, but in no way lacking feeling. The Ultravox cover is also extremely well done. For some reason 80s new wave is highly conducive to the metal format, as similar songs have been employed by Gamma Ray, Nightwish and even Cradle of Filth.

The best place to find this is on the Live Invasion album, which also includes a song from the “Keepers of Jericho” Helloween tribute album and another cover song. There are still a few original copies of this floating around on some online stores, but unless you live in either France or Japan you’ll likely get hit with a higher price due to tariffs. If you like your power metal light, happy, and full of speed and energy then this, along with the debut album, are the best of what this band has to offer.