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Legend of the Shadowking

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Album Review

Having a European address is by no means mandatory if one wants to be part of a power metal revival band, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And being from Germany — a country boasting a considerable amount of metal and hard rock history, ranging from Helloween and Warlock to Kreator, Destruction and Sodom to the Scorpions and Accept — has not been a bad thing for Freedom Call, who maintain their epic, prog-influenced approach to power metal on Legend of the Shadowking. Freedom Call have experienced some personnel changes along the way; on this 2008-2009 recording, the lineup consists of original members Chris Bay (lead vocals, guitar) and Dan Simmermann (drums) along with 2005 arrival Lars Rettkowicz (guitar) and 2009 arrival Samy Saemann (bass). But lineup changes haven't changed the band's sound; Freedom Call still like their power metal big — big melodies, big choruses, big themes, and big hooks. There are hooks galore on this album, and those hooks have a way of pulling the listener in right away — at least if he/she has a taste for a stubbornly old-school power metal aesthetic. Some folks will no doubt complain about how derivative Freedom Call continue to be; others will call their lyrics cheesy and argue that by performing those lyrics without even a trace of irony, Bay makes Freedom Call seem all the more ridiculous. But for the headbangers who buy Freedom Call's albums faithfully — many of them younger listeners who aren't old enough to remember power metal's 1970s-1980s heyday — those arguments sort of miss the point. Legend of the Shadowking preaches to the power metal choir and does so without apology; the end result is a likable disc that satisfies and pleases even though it takes very few chances.


Formed: 1998 in Nuremberg, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A melodic, prog-tinged German power metal unit based out of Nuremberg, Freedom Call continue in the classic vein of regional decibel-pushers like Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, and Blind Guardian. Formed in 1998 around the talents of vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay, drummer Dan Zimmermann, guitarist Sascha Gerstner, and bassist Ilker Ersin, the group debuted in 1999 with Stairway to Fairyland. 2001's Steamhammer-issued Crystal Empire would be the last Freedom Call outing to feature Gerstner, who would later...
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Legend of the Shadowking, Freedom Call
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