Germany's Freedom Call, led and founded by guitarist and vocalist Chris Bay, have been at the forefront of melodic power Metal since they formed in the late 90s.
They are big on huge vocal harmonies and catchy melodic riffs and it's the kind of Metal that has swords and shields raised in the air; well they were when I first them at The Purple Turtle.
And given the (criminal) lack of a suitable central London venues, the Islington Academy was another good venue, where they blew Luca Turilli's Rhapsody off stage.
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So why, then, were this fantastic (both on stage and on CD) band relegated to the Barfly? Who knows, but you can imagine the PR's pleasure (and Cheshire Cat grin to match) to find the venue heaving to the rafters – there are obviously a lot more fans 'in the know' than many a magazine who have missed this bandwagon.
Venue and short set aside, this live show kicked more arse than words can describe.
Opening with 'Union Of The Strong' from the new album 'Beyond', the music was uplifting from the outset, and 'We Are One' from the band's 1999 debut 'Stairway To Fairyland' followed.
'Tears Of Taragon' was captivating, and between songs Bay often conversed with the crowd.
One of the highlights was 'Farewell', from 2000s classic 'Crystal Empire', a singalong moment and the new album's title track was equally enjoyed by the enthusiastic crowd.
The rhythm section were heavy and solid, and the twin guitars duelled all night long.
'The Quest', with its piano intro, is as epic as it gets and proves just how brilliant this band are on stage – classic in every respect.
Sadly due to curfew the set was short (75 minutes, ten tracks) but tonight was evidence that regardless of whether you like the band on record or not, it's impossible not to enjoy Freedom Call.
This band should be much bigger and playing bigger venues. See you there next time.