For one reason or another Freedom Call have always had a ‘second citizen’ feel attached to their brand of power metal.
Despite touring relentlessly with European popularity soaring at its all-time peak, they’ve never truly been regarded in the same tier as the heavyweights of the genre. Purely heeding their studio outputs in recent years, Freedom Call don’t really hack the epic level of the top-dogs, and they probably never will, but that’s not going to stop them putting up a fight on the stage.
It’s an apt way to begin their second live album with We Are One from debut album Stairway To Fairyland, but it takes some time for things to flourish. Four songs in, Tears Of Babylon is the energetic instigator that was needed to mix things up just before the heavy set and darker Blackened Sun.
The setlist makes sense too. Although the bland Out Of The Ruins is a particular low point, the atmosphere is quickly revived by Hunting High And Low, showing Freedom Call’s estute structuring.
The exceptionally cheesy Merlin – Requiem begins the second disc of the performance in fine mozarella fashion and proceeds to emphasise it’s chorus behind menacing Helloween-esque palm muted guitar work in Merlin – Legend Of The Past. The Quest swiftly maintains pace with a no-nonsense mosh of heavy metal riffs before classics like Warriors, Mr Evil and title track Freedom Call are cleverly segregated to ensure that even with a few dips in proceedings, there’ll always be something to look forward to.
If it’s fair to say that they’re not at the top of the pile, then it’s essential to reinstate that Freedom Call are certainly not at the bottom. They can deliver on the stage and pack that punch of deliverance to make you wish you were in the same field of drunken metalheads watching their bravado performance. Who knows, this release might just be the cushion needed for those morbid Hammerfall fans grieving the loss of Hector and hard rock embrace. In all, Live In Hellvetia is a well-chosen back catalogue of songs that mark the band’s success.