Freedom Call’s balance sheet is certainly something to be proud of: the group surrounding vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay have released a total of seven studio albums (including their sensational debut Stairway To Fairyland) and two haunting live releases. Freedom Call are also ever-present live on the stage, having toured not only with the likes of Saxon, Edguy, Blind Guardian and Hammerfall, but also having played successful tours in their own right since 2010. The band performed more than 60 shows to support the release of their 2012 album Land Of The Crimson Dawn, among them 25 headliner shows all over Europe. Their exceedingly melodic songs are frequently referred to as “happy metal”, and indeed Freedom Call more than deserve the title of “Happiest Metal-Band In The World”.
Their latest studio album, Beyond, scheduled for release on 24 February 2014 (Germany: 21 February 2014; USA: 4 March 2014). Vocalist and guitarist Chris Bay explains the basic idea behind the current album: “The most important thing about everything you do is that you enjoy doing it. We always concentrate on the positive first, which reflects our character. Optimism is one of our most important philosophies, and that’s exactly what Beyond is about.”
The release of Ages Of Light on 29 April 2013 (Germany: 26 April 2013, USA: 7 May 2013) is set to mark their 15th anniversary. This full-to-the-brim best-of release includes 18 classics from their creative career to date, among them ‘We Are One’ from their 1999 debut, the anthemnic ‘Freedom Call’ off Crystal Empire (2001), ‘Warriors’ and ‘Land Of Light’ from their 2002 release Eternity, a live version of ‘Metal Invasion’ and the topical ‘Power & Glory’ off Land Of The Crimson Dawn (2012). “Those 18 numbers are usually celebrated at our gigs, or even requested with a vengeance,” explains Chris Bay, who has another real ace up his sleeve: the bonus CD Masqueraded presents six Freedom Call tracks in new and unusual guises: a ska version of ‘Metal-Invasion’, ‘Mr. Evil’ as a melodic reggae track, ‘Hero On Video’ as a speed ska number and ‘Rockin’ Radio’ (which is also supported by a video clip) in a killerbilly version. Masqueraded is complemented by ‘Freedom Call’ in campfire strumming style (including music sheet/tablature) and ‘Age Of The Phoenix’ in a power swing outfit. It would hardly be possible to present these tracks more colourfully or diverse. Bay: “Our intention with Masqueraded was to inspire musicians and music fans to create their own, personal version of one of our songs – irrespective of musical style – and send it to us.” Ages Of Light combines not only the essence of the best songs from the seven Freedom Call studio recordings to date, but also marks a meeting of various former and current band members. Along with
Chris Bay and guitarist Lars Rettkowitz, three different drummers can be heard on the bonus tracks: founder member Dan Zimmermann, his successors Klaus Sperling, and Ramy Ali, whom fans know from the most recent Freedom Call tour. The two bassists, Samy Saemann and original band member Ilker Ersin, and guitarist Cede Dupont, who was part of Freedom Call between 2001 and 2005, are also featured. “It was great fun to work with old and new friends alike at the studio, turning previously typical Freedom Call numbers into unusual songs,” Chris Bay explains, stressing that the group will commence working on a new studio album after the tour in spring 2013: “But first we want to celebrate our anniversary in style!”
Freedom Call’s success story began back in 1998. Having sold over 35,000 copies of their debut, Stairway To Fairyland, their tour with Saxon, Angra and Edguy turned into a triumphal march, culminating in memorable shows with Savatage and Skew Siskin in August 1999 as part of the Popkomm music fair in Cologne. The band played almost fifty shows in 2000 and proved their worth at various festivals, like the Wacken Open Air 1999 and 2000. Their second release, Crystal Empire, even surpassed the debut’s success. The sales figures increased, and even before the album was available, Freedom Call were invited to the Metal Fest in Bologna, Italy, played the Metal Days in Switzerland and delivered an unforgettable performance at the Stratovarius/Rhapsody show in Bourges, France. Following the release of Crystal Empire, Freedom Call embarked on a 63-day European tour with Hammerfall and Virgin Steele that took them through Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungry, France and Spain, among other countries. June 2002 saw the arrival of the third Freedom Call recording, Eternity, followed by an extensive tour with Blind Guardian, during which their most recent release, Live Invasion, was recorded. At the same time, Freedom Call established themselves as a headlining act in their own right and were celebrated as the stars of the Wacken Road Show 2004 night after night. The Circle Of Life saw the integration of more modern and unusual arrangements into the band’s sound, extending the musicians’ sonic range – an element which their following albums Dimensions (2007) and Legend Of The Shadowking (2010) also benefit from.
Last year, Freedom Call presented Land Of The Crimson Dawn – one of the most dynamic productions since their 1999 debut. Now they are about to document with Ages Of Light that this band will also be a force to be reckoned within the next 15 years.