German Power Metal Band Freedom Call formed in 1998 and have always been built around lead vocalist and songwriter Chris Bay. In that time, they have released nine studio albums and, until now, two live albums, which document their progression so far. The M.E.T.A.L. Fest is Freedom Calls third live offering and their first in twelve years.
Freedom Call – The M.E.T.A.L. Fest (SPV/Steamhammer)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Adrian Stonley
Bringing us fourteen live tunes and one studio piece, The M.E.T.A.L. Fest is clearly aimed at capturing the present lineup of the band on the tour of their last album M.E.T.A.L., from which a number of tunes are culled and comprises a reasonable percentage of the album.
Live albums are often interesting to review, providing a live variation of songs and attempts to bring the concert experience into the home of the listener. They tend to be divisive. Some people love them, some not so.
From my personal perspective, it generally depends upon three key elements. Firstly, the performance of the band on the night or nights the recording was made. Secondly, the sound quality and recording ability in the live environment, and finally, the song selection and whether it accurately represents the shows from the tour recorded.
Often the latter is the point that divides as if the show is restricted to a single disc. Then there are often questions raised over the material played that is omitted. The point is everyone has their own opinions, and that doesn’t make one person right and another wrong. It’s just a question of taste and point of view.
Certainly, on listening to this album, the sound quality and recording cannot be faulted, and the set flows as though it were live in your room. There are no gaps between tracks, and we roll from one number to another as the set develops live.
All the usual banter between band and audience is there, so in that way, this album more than meets the criteria of bringing the live experience into the home.
However, before we get to the live material, the album actually starts with a new studio piece. The M.E.T.A.L Fest, a title track for this album, is an entirely new song, despite it not being in a live environment. It has all the traditional Freedom Call trademarks and is a completely anthemic rabble rouser for the Metal community. This has the potential to become a classic Freedom Call number, and I can see it being played live as a real singalong piece.
The live set opens with Union Of The Strong from the Beyond album, which is a clear fan favourite and abounds with their trademark singalong chorus and calls to jump and shout, which it is clear the audience are certainly doing.
There are five songs from the latest album M.E.T.A.L., which is unsurprising as this was recorded on that tour, and it gave the band the opportunity to try these out in the live environment. The title track from their last album M.E.T.A.L comes over as an anthemic call for Metal falls akin to a Manowar for the 21st century.
The new songs all have the traditional Freedom Call stamp on them, with great hooks, melodic chorus lines, and rousing vocals. Chris Bay has a great voice which holds sway over the songs, and from the crowd communication between and during songs, it is clear that he was working the audience hard the night this was recorded.
Towards the end of the set, the old favourites come through with the audience in a good voice as well. Freedom Call, the band’s title song, Power and The Glory, Far Away are all well received, and the version recorded during this show cannot be faulted.
Closing out with a couple of numbers from the Eternity album [Warriors and Land Of The Light], this set encapsulates everything that Freedom Call are about.
This album clearly captures Freedom Call at their best and is a strong reflection of the band as they stand at the moment.
The M.E.T.A.L. Fest is available as CD+Blu-ray digipak version, download and stream. For more details, visit https://freedomcall.lnk.to/Metalfest.
The M.E.T.A.L. Fest
Union of the Strong [Beyond]
Tears of Babylon [Legend of The Shadowking]
Spirit of Daedelus [M.E.T.A.L]
Sail Away [M.E.T.A.L]
Metal Invasion [Eternity]
111 – The Number of the Angels [M.E.T.A.L]
Ace of the Unicorn [M.E.T.A.L]
Freedom Call [Crystal Empire]
Power And Glory [Land of The Crimson Dawn]
Metal Is For Everyone [Master Of Light]
Far Away [Crystal Empire]
Land of the Light [Eternity]