The self-proclaimed ‘happiest band in the world’ is enough to set our collective teeth on edge and five seconds of the Helloween-on-Phenalzine singalong ‘Metal Is For Everyone’ has one grinding said teeth to shards very, very quickly. Yes, it’s another slice of ultra-polished modern Euro-flavoured power metal designed to get fields of hungover mullet-sporters at festivals smiling again before the proper bands take to the stage.
A little harsh perhaps – we’ve actually stumbled across Freedom Call live a few times in the past and despite the irksome chirpiness of their approach, when it comes down to it, they’re relatively inoffensive. And it must be said, sneering aside, ‘Master Of Light’ – their ninth full-length – is another solid offering. The production is beefy (if brickwalled to Hades) with the guitars having a real crunch to them whilst, with ‘Masters Of Light’ and ‘Hail The Legend’, we are presented with some suitably affecting anthems.
Ultimately however, solid as it is, the whole affair is so slathered in a sheen of sappy, overwrought ‘good-time’ cheesiness that the record becomes sickly long before jaunty closer ‘High Up’ arrives to really spoil the party. And as for that cover art… bafflingly bad. Unless you are devotee of ‘party’ power metal, approach with extreme caution.
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