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High quality Power Metal, spirited and energetic. - 89%

Empyreal, April 7th, 2009

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

A final tale before the changing tide. - 94%

hells_unicorn, February 18th, 2005
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Steamhammer

The only constancy in this tumultuous world of fleeting trends is change, and wherein the power metal revival of the millennial period was concerned, the winds were on the verge of a massive shift following 2002. Particularly insofar as the German scene was concerned, what could rightly be called the classic eras of outfits such as Iron Savior, Gamma Ray, Primal Fear, Mob Rules and the lightest end of the spectrum in Freedom Call's entry into the mix, saw either a lull in studio activity for a couple years or a sizable shift in their lineups and stylistic direction. Though the resulting move towards a more rock oriented formula paved the way for a number of differing alternatives to the aforementioned German influenced sound (due in no small part to the efforts of German-based acts like Masterplan and Edguy in the mid-2000s), the common theme was a tendency to downplay or outright avoid the speed metal influences inherited from Helloween and the heavier, Judas Priest-inspired elements taken from Accept, along with the conceptual storytelling that many of these bands shared with storybook oriented high fantasy bands in the scene such as Rhapsody (Of Fire). It is with all of this in mind that Freedom Call's 3rd studio LP and final installment of the Taragon story line dubbed Eternity finds its place in power metal history, and despite a seismic shift in their lineup it is situated in the same class as their riveting first and second studio opuses.

In retrospect, there is a very good case to be made that the loss of lead guitarist Sascha Gerstner and his being replaced with one of the biggest hacks in the European heavy metal scene in Symphorce guitarist Cede Dupont led to a sizable decline in Freedom Call's quality of output, but that decline didn't announce itself here despite the latter's involvement. Gerstner himself had noted upon his exodus that he had very little creative control over Freedom Call's material compared to Chris Bay and Dan Zimmerman, and while this assumed controlling approach to running the band cost them the greatest shredder they ever had, that same approach probably kept Dupont in the box he needed to be in to prevent the sort of songwriting debacles that plagued The Circle Of Life. If anything, the remaining core members of this band play it a bit safer in the songwriting department here than the last album and focus more on hooks and more up tempo songwriting coupled with a more streamlined approach to balladry that borders more on where Stratovarius was in the late 1990s. If there is any downgrade in the overall package here compared to Crystal Empire and Stairway To Fairyland it's in the lead guitar department, as the frequency of solos has been reduced and that the more auspicious moments on standout anthems like "Flying High", "Eyes Of The World" and "Warriors" are mostly handled by Bay himself and focus more on melodic luster than technical prowess.

The formula at play for this band has always been one of triumph and majestic melody, and while there was always the occasional moment of sorrow or tumult, Eternity sort of stands by itself in terms of both how heavy and how nuanced it manages to be while relying on the same basic schematic. What is arguably the crowning jewel of audience fanfare and high flying adventure packed into a single song in "Metal Invasion", which is also the closest thing this album has to an epic number in the vain of "Tears Of Taragon" or "The Quest", is the song that ends up kicking this album off. Though largely a speed-based affair that showcases the sort of high octane riffing and drum work that typified "Over The Rainbow", this song likewise takes a few cues from the drawn out intro of said Stairway To Fairyland classic by trading out the booming pipe organ for a massive choir of voices that would make the likes of Blind Guardian blush. To further compound the impact factor, this bombastic opener is chased by two equally fast and furious cruisers in "Flying High" and "Ages Of Power", the former complementing the sea of soaring vocals and interleaved noodling lead guitars with an exemplary display out of Zimmerman on the kit, while the latter actually throws the listener for a total loop by throwing in a black/death metal vocal interlude set to one of the darkest sections ever concocted by this band, all the while still managing to keep their signature sound at the fore.

The nuance factor continues to be accomplished through the progression of this album by keeping a hearty dose of typical elements in place, thus resulting in a greater surprise factor. Along the more typical fair is another duo of speeders in "Eyes Of The World" and "Island Of Dreams" that showcase the sort of pomp and bluster that make songs like "We Are One" and "Freedom Call" recurring staples of this band's live shows, and the more upper mid-tempo rocker "Warriors" takes a few pages out of the Edguy and Stratovarius playbook while still providing that fantastical Freedom Call atmosphere that permeated other live favorites of years prior like "Hymn Of The Brave" and "The Wanderer". By contrast, things take a noted turn towards somber, slow-paced territory on the heavy trudge of "Flame In The Night", one of the few composition offerings out of bassist Ilker Ersin prior to starting his Powerworld project, and while still very much in the anthem-based Freedom Call style, shows some early inclinations towards the AOR style of the subsequent band in question. The balladry of "Bleeding Heart" and "Turn Back Time" follow a slow-paced yet complex array of influences, the former definitely tending towards an 80s power ballad vibe after the mold of Journey or Survivor, while the latter takes a turn towards the folksy acoustic end of things. All that considered, the true coup de grace and standout surprise of the bunch is "Land Of The Light", a sort of quicker and more guitar-oriented homage to Europe's "The Final Countdown" that has arguably become Freedom Call's signature song.

It may be a cop out to assert that this album succeeds in avoiding either being a change in direction or a rehash of past greatness by doing a bit of both, but that is ultimately the best way to describe this album when compared to its predecessors. It is a shade darker than Stairway To Fairyland and a tad less fancy than Crystal Empire, yet one would be hard pressed to find a dyed-in-the-wool fan of either album that wouldn't like this, not to mention that its more nuanced approach gives it a greater degree of crossover appeal to other power metal fans outside of the Helloween contingent (this is actually the most lauded album of their's outside of said circles). It is also one of the better produced power metal albums to come out of the early 2000s, achieving a degree of clarity and crispness that was absent from the debut and a pummeling rhythm section presence that is notably heavier than either preceding album and closer in overall sound to the early masterwork of Dan Zimmerman's career in Gamma Ray's Somewhere Out In Space. Historically, Eternity stands as one of the last moments of utter greatness of the German power metal revival, a time where the cynicism and detachment that typified the 1990s was abandoned for an optimistic brand of escapism and fantastical storytelling. It's debatable whether the magic of this era has been achieved again since the close of the 2000s, but this will remain one of the best wellsprings from which future power metal bands ought to draw as future endeavors are plotted.

Rewritten on July 30, 2018.

Freedom Call(d) and wants it's happy back - 86%

Lord_of_the_Pit, December 17th, 2004

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.