Freedom Call – The M.E.T.A.L. Fest (Steamhammer/SPV)

Monday, 3rd July 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

When it comes to an uplifting form of power metal, German act Freedom Call embrace the style as a badge of honor. Approaching their 25th anniversary as a group, The M.E.T.A.L. Fest is another live album release on CD and Blu-ray disc, featuring a compilation of material from two summer 2022 shows in Pilsen, Czech Republic at the Metalfest and Regensburg’s Eventhall Airport plus a new studio song for the title track. Choosing to be authentic over a silky-smooth presentation, the fourteen main songs encompass all sides of these musicians – anthems to speedy affairs, all containing the expected ‘happy’ hooks, melodies, and choruses that could easily take you on a magic carpet fantasy world ride to the stars.

Guitarist/vocalist Chris Bay has that infectious nature to his penchant for upper range delivery, although he can be entertaining as he galvanizes the audience participation moments in songs like “Tears of Babylon” and early favorite “Freedom Call”. The focus of course was on the main studio record that came out in 2019 M.E.T.A.L., of which five songs get justified airing – the speedy, double kick fueled “Spirit of Daedalus” and Helloween-esque “The Ace of the Unicorn” going down very well. With ten studio albums to pull material from, it’s great to see the band understand the delicate balance between keeping the faithful happy while also executing a cross-section of tracks that appease the musicians – favorites like “Warriors” and the Celtic-flavored “Far Away” staples that rock just as much today as they did when originally appearing on Eternity and Dimensions respectively. The triumphant keyboard strains against twin axe chords also seem irresistible to incessant hand claps, shouts, or unison choir support when called for – the mid-tempo “Land of Light” an ideal closer. As far as the new studio track is concerned, it’s another ‘happy’ arrangement featuring copious amounts of choirs wrapped around a circular guitar melody that won’t leave your headspace anytime soon, beyond the homage to the genre we love in the lyrics.

Freedom Call is one of those power metal acts be it in a small venue or on the biggest festival stage captivate to put smiles on faces, leaving you in a better mood than you were previously. And that’s all anyone could ever ask for, isn’t it?

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