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A fairly flawed afterthought. - 71%

hells_unicorn, July 15th, 2007

Brazil has always had a unique take on the power metal genre. Its bands tend towards mixing small to moderate amounts of prog to complement the speed, as well as putting in some elements of their own cultural history into the fold both musically and lyrically. Angra has always carried a large amount of their country’s unique culture in their music, coming forth in the form of tribal drum beats and some odd modal tones that run contrary to their neo-classical influences, perhaps underscoring the duality of the Brazilian Indian tribes and the European invaders who ended up mixing with them. This was mostly evident on their second studio LP “Holy Land”, probably most blatantly in the case of the long winded epic “Carolina IV”.

“Freedom Call” as an individual song tends more towards the earlier sound found on “Angel’s Cry” and only occasionally offers up the uniquely Brazilian percussion seconds towards the end as an after thought, while the rest of the song stands as a power metal anthem with a catchy chorus and occasional off-beat rhythmic riffs to keep it from being bland. Matos’ voice is the same usually high as hell, moderately rough edged variety that likely draws some comparisons to late 80s glam rock outfits. The lead guitar work on here is also a high point for the band, although it is not quite the amazing extravaganza that was head on “Carry On” off the Angel’s Cry debut.

However, aside from this song and a rather good remake of speed metal classic “Painkiller”, there isn’t really all that much to this EP. We get an orchestrated version of “Stand Away”, which leaves Matos’ voice way too exposed during the louder parts and ultimately doesn’t sound good. Everything else is just re-recorded material that can be found on they’re studio LPs, although they are well done, they can be found on the studio LPs that preceded this. I consider myself a pretty rabid completist when it comes to bands that I like, but there isn’t really much difference in sound between these recorded songs and their original versions.

Although I am a pretty staunch fan and defender of the Matos era of Angra, this EP is probably among the least worthwhile purchases in their catalog. It would be worth it to get this just for the Judas Priest cover and the title track; the latter of which is likely where the band Freedom Call got their name from, but this is not something that should be purchased at full price. I got this second hand from a friend as a freebee, and although I think it’s worth more than nothing, it would be best tracked down in the used CD section at about a 25% discount from its list price.