Freedom Call - 'Live In Hellvetia'

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Freedom Call - 'Live In Hellvetia'

Freedom Call's ninth outing.

Freedom Call's ninth outing – and second live album after 2004's 'Live Invasion' – 'Live In Hellvetia' finds Germany's finest power metal troupe at the Z7 Club in Pratteln, playing their final show of 2010. The band's own booklet notes refer to it as "one of the best concerts of Freedom Call ever" and it's hard to disagree. The twenty songs on offer showcase the very, very best of the band singer/guitarist/pianist Chris Bay formed back in 1998, and although the line-up has had a fair few comings-and-goings over the years, Freedom Call have always stayed true to their roots, building up a substantial fan base for their pains.

In return for some almost rabid support, Bay, fellow guitarist Lars Rettkowitz, bassist Samy Saemann and drummer Klaus Sperling repay the Swiss faithful by blasting through 100-plus minutes of blistering chest-beating crowd pleasers. Certainly there's a lot to enjoy, in particular in the twin guitar harmonies of Bay and Rettkowitz (as well as the latter's lead work) which are a feast for the ears. Saemann provides the flash and flair at the bottom end and Sperling works his socks off the whole night through, although I'm not to sure about his solo: technically proficient, yes, and a treat for the youngsters, but for us oldies there's the feeling that we've seen and heard the '1812 Overture' (complete with fireworks) before. RIP, Cozy…

The show is available either as a double CD, or a DVD; both feature the full gig, although the DVD features a second disc 'A Perfect Day In The Life Of Freedom Call'. Opening with a shot of a pigeon – honestly! – it contains all the normal silliness and shenanigans that you associate with such bonuses ("have lots of fun watching the band's deeper insights and opinions," reads the booklet; "note: don't take everything too serious") together with a much more satisfying eight songs from the Raismes Festival in France the previous September.

You can't argue with songs like 'Thunder God' (with its impressive opening refrain) or the downbeat 'Blackened Day, or listen to the likes of 'The Quest', 'A Perfect Day' or 'Far Away', without tapping your feet and grinning from ear to ear. It certainly puts a smile on your face, and, at the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about? Freedom Call may never be the greatest band in the world, but they're fun, they're entertaining, and they're damned good at what they do. And that's good enough for me.

John Tucker

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