Two excellent reasons to party for the Freedom Call camp: first, the band surrounding vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay are set to celebrate their 20thanniversary this summer; then, on 23 August 2019 they’re also scheduled to release their tenth studio album, featuring the promising title M.E.T.A.L. Since their 1999 debut Stairway To Fairyland, the act from southern Germany has been synonymous with anthemnic melodic metal, driving grooves and atmospheric messages as well as optimistic lyrics. M.E.T.A.L., a unanimously impressive offering with an unusual title, is marked by these familiar characteristics but also by lots of other features. According to Bay, the unconventional title is “tongue in cheek. After all, everybody knows that we don’t exactly play extremely raw death metal. We’re happy for our music to polarise the audience, which is precisely what’s been happening since we’ve announced it on Facebook.”
It’s obvious from the very first note that M.E.T.A.L. has turned into a release that’s bound to please Freedom Call fans in every respect. “Everybody who’s heard the album has told us that some of the tracks could easily have featured on our first recordings,” Chris Bay explains with some pride, adding: “To me such statements are a big compliment because they imply that there’s a typical musical fingerprint, characteristic Freedom Call DNA that we’ve remained faithful to.”
Bay is referring to numbers such as ‘Fly With Us’, ‘Days Of Glory’ and ‘Ronin’ with their impressive speed and almost boundless enthusiasm which are certain to stimulate their fans’ neck and leg muscles. In other places the new album risks a degree of poignancy (‘One Step Into Wonderland’) or oozes atmospheric seafaring flair on ‘Sail Away’. The title track is relevant in a number of respects. Comments Bay: “On the one hand these kinds of pounding groove numbers are pretty unusual for us, on the other hand ‘M.E.T.A.L.’ is an absolute novelty. None less than Freedom Call founder member and former drummer Daniel Zimmermann has left his unmistakable signature on the album, recording the drum parts simultaneously alongside Kevin Kott, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. You can hear one of them on the left and the other on the right channel.” By the way: fans who are loving that unique double drum sound will soon be able to see it in a breath-taking video clip.
While M.E.T.A.L. was recorded with live drummer Kevin Kott (Masterplan), from summer 2019 Freedom Call will tour with a new line up consisting – along with Bay and lead guitarist Lars Rettkowitz – of Italian bassist Francesco Ferraro and drummer Timmi Breideband. Freedom Call met Ferraro during their tour with Rhapsody Of Fire, Francesco opening the show with his band Vexillum. Breideband previously played with At Vance and Bonfire. “Francesco and Timmi have brought lots of new ideas and a younger attitude to the band,” enthuses Bay about his new colleagues.
M.E.T.A.L. will be available at the physical and digital stores on DigiPak CD, vinyl double album, for digital download and in a limited box set including mobile phone holder, autograph card, sticker and playing card. The meaning of the card, referred to as the “Joker of Life”, which is in thematic context with the song ‘The Ace Of The Unicorn’, is explained in detail by Bay in the album’s booklet. The title of the first single release ‘111’ (with the “perceived” subtitle ‘The Number Of The Angels’) is also programmatic. “’111 is the number of angels in Western esotericism”, Bay explains, “and it also plays an important role in my life. I come across it constantly, be it the number of my hotel room, a receipt at the supermarket or even my birth date. I’m obviously a ‘one’ person which also means that I’m a ‘light person’.”
Talking of which: there’s plenty of light and joy on M.E.T.A.L. in lots of different respects. Their tenth studio album sees Freedom Call ooze pure, unadulterated enthusiasm, a positive attitude and great compositional skill. And who knows: perhaps all those who listen to this lively album may turn into “light persons” themselves.
111 * Spirit Of Daedalus * M.E.T.A.L. * The Ace Of The Unicorn * Sail Away * Fly With Us * One Step Into Wonderland * Days Of Glory * Wheel Of Time * Ronin * Sole Survivor
Master Of Light
If there’s ever been an album title to reflect perfectly the aura and musical attitude of Freedom Call, then it’s got to be Master Of Light. The name of their latest release refers not only to the band’s enigmatic perceived image, it also proclaims optimism and joie de vivreto be pretty much an irrevocable philosophy of life. Freedom Call reflect their musical enthusiasm in every single note, they share it with their fans, on their albums as well as in countless electrifying shows. A phenomenon with a reciprocal effect, the musicians allowing themselves just as frequently to be inspired by their fans. So it comes as no surprise that frontman Chris Bay talks about a “whole load of energy” which the band currently emanates as a result of their successful tour promoting the predecessor album Beyond: “We returned from the shows with such a lot of power that we found ourselves composing and recording the new material within a few months.”
As they did with their previous twelve albums, the current line-up consisting of original members Chris Bay (vocals, guitars) and Ilker Ersin (bass) plus guitarist Lars Rettkowitz and drummer Ramy Ali have recorded in Master Of Lightanother prime example of multi-faceted melodic metal. Once again, Freedom Call’s greatest forte is their verve and amazing dynamism, their fantastic melodies and anthemnic chorus parts – and it looks like this is set to continue, as Bay explains: “As far as chorus parts are concerned, we’ve even topped our previous releases.”
And not only in terms of vocals, as the lead single ´Hammer Of The Gods` has revealed. The song with its epic orientation prepared the fans for the upcoming album as early as July. And the anticipation proved to be justified as Freedom Call mark 2016 continue to be the epitome of irrepressible musical enthusiasm. Straightforward power metal songs such as ´Rock The Nation`, ´Riders In The Sky`, ´Kings Rise And Fall` and ´Hail The Legend` speak for themselves, just like ´Metal Is For Everyone`. Bay on that programmatic title: “´Metal Is For Everyone` is our plea not to worry too much about the apparent imponderabilities of life, to take them a little less seriously. And: isn’t there a little heavy metal in every one of us?”
This question is easily answered in view of a thoroughly haunting album. And not only when Freedom Call put the pedal to the metal on their uptempo numbers, but also when ´Masters Of Light` temporarily appears in a slightly darker light. The title track turns out to be a comparatively sinister counterpoint to the group’s otherwise fairly sunny pace, featuring humorous lyrics on the musicians’ supposed heroic deeds. “In a way, we glorify ourselves with this track,” Bay admits, “but of course it’s all very much tongue-in-cheek.”
In other places, Master Of Lightis slightly more progressive: “I think this is one of the most challenging numbers we’ve ever recorded,” Bay describes the almost six-minute opus ´A World Beyond`, adding: “The complexity of that number reminds me first and foremost of our Crystal Empirephase.” Also unusual: the ballad ´A Cradle Of Angels`, which was recorded on acoustic guitars in fingerpicking style and features lyrics that encourage positive thinking to solve problems. Talking of positive: the thoroughly appealing cover artwork, designed by Michael Dorschner, is a visual reflection of the album title’s sense of humour.
Freedom Call recorded more than a dozen new numbers for their new release, including four bonus tracks featuring various small surprises. Master Of Lightwas cut at the band’s own Little Sun Creek Lounge Studio near Nuremberg and the controls were manned by Chris Bay and Stephan Ernst, who also co-produced the predecessors Land Of The Crimson Dawn (2012), Beyond(2014) and Eternity – 666 Weeks Beyond Eternity(2015).So the Freedom Call formula for success appears to be just right and the superb result should secure the four musicians their place in the sun again from 11-11-2016 – which seems more than apt seeing that from a spiritual point of view, 11 is considered to be the number of light and awakening.
Metal Is For Everyone * Hammer Of The Gods * A World Beyond * Masters Of Light * Kings Rise And Fall * Emerald Skies * Cradle Of Angels * Riders In The Sky * Ghost Ballet * Hail The Legend * Rock The Nation * High Up
You’d be hard put to find negative emotions or a depressive disposition in the Freedom Call camp. Among the greatest fortes of this German melodic metal act is their uncompromisingly positive attitude to life, which the musicians have incorporated in their fresh and catchy songs for more than 15 years. This positive frame of mind is the central theme of 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.”
Compositions which blend the band’s greatest strengths and sparkle with a lot of class, finesse and enthusiasm. Bay: “Stylistically, we have remained faithful to ourselves, in fact we’ve even returned to a slightly more traditional direction. I think that’s probably the result of recent tours, where we had lots of fun with the classic Freedom Call numbers, which not only a lot of our faithful fans from the band’s early days will appreciate.”
The album’s focal point is the eight-minute title track, which Bay & Co. wrote and recorded with a great love of detail: “Finding the right arrangement was an exciting challenge for us. Now that the song has been recorded, we’re really proud of it. To us, ‘Beyond’ is a kind of successor to ‘The Quest’ from our second album, Crystal Empire.” Along with ‘Beyond’, there are another 13 strong tracks, among them classic Freedom Call numbers such as ‘Union Of The Strong’ (the release of which will be supported by a video clip), ‘Knights Of Taragon’ and ‘Colours Of Freedom’. Chris Bay promises a perceptible musical development with lots of interesting accents and a number of surprises: “‘Dance Off The Devil’ – the ‘off’ is consciously spelled with a double ‘f’ – with its African rhythms and mystic grooves may sound slightly unusual, but it perfectly suits the album title, which is meant in a spiritual sense.”
Beyondwas recorded by the current line-up featuring Chris Bay,Lars Rettkowitz(guitar), Ilker Ersin(bass) and Ramy Ali (drums). “The fact that Ilker is back on bass marks not only the return of one of the band’s founder members, but also that of a good friend. We are happy that he’s come back on a permanent basis, and our fans have also reacted with great enthusiasm. Ramy has replaced Klaus Sperling, who unfortunately wasn’t available due to previous engagements. I’ve known Ramy for many years and know that he’s not only an awesome drummer but also a great person who fits perfectly into the band and shares our philosophy. I dare say these two new additions have probably made the current line-up the strongest of all time. And we’re set to prove that Freedom Call are ‘The happiest band of the world’.” The album was produced by Chris Bay and Stephan Ernst at the Separate Studios in Nuremberg and at Freedom Call’s own studio.
The impressive cover artwork courtesy of Jens Reinhold (Running Wild, Virgin Steele, among others) suits the haunting theme to a T. Beyondwill be available in three different formats: as a Digipak, on vinyl LP plus CD and – in a special fan edition – as a box including book, poster, Digipak and bonus CD. Bay: “The 40-page book presents the story of the album in words and pictures, everything is kept very personal.” The bonus CD which is included in the fan edition consists of 13 previously unreleased live tracks: six of them were recorded at the ‘Live In The Black Forest’ concert in June 2013, and seven more at the unique ‘Unplugged & Masqueraded’ live event at Nuremberg’s Rockfabrik in September 2013.
Freedom Call fans should not only mark the release date of Beyondin January 2014 in their diaries, but also the dates of ‘Light Over The Beyond’ tour, which will start in March and take the band through Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Finland, among others. Chris Bay is already promising an experience which will be spiritual in every respect!
Union Of The Strong * Knights Of Taragon * Heart Of A Warrior * Come On Home * Beyond * Rhythm Of Light * Edge Of The Ocean * Journey Into Wonderland * Dance Off The Devil * Paladin * Colours Of Freedom * Follow Your Heart * Among The Shadows * Beyond Eternity
Melodic metal act 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”. The release of Ages Of Light on29 April 2013 (Germany: 26 April 2013, USA: 7 May 2013) is set to mark their15thanniversary.
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 Masqueradedpresents 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. Masqueradedis 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 Masqueradedwas 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 Lightcombines 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 Lifesaw 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) andLegend 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 Lightthat this band will also be a force to be reckoned with in the next 15 years.
We Are One * Tears Falling * Freedom Call * Farewell * Metal Invasion (Live) * Warriors * Land Of Light * Hunting High * Mr. Evil * Far Away * Blackened Sun * Thunder God * Tears Of Babylon * Perfect Day (Live) * Hero On Video * Power & Glory * Rockstars * Back Into The Land Of Light * Metal Invasion (Metal-Folk-Version) * Mr. Evil (Melodic- Reggae-Version) * Hero On Video (Speed-Ska-Version) * Rockin` Radio (Killerbilly-Version) * Freedom Call (Campfire-Strumming-Version) * Age Of Phoenix (Power-Swing-Version)
There can be no doubt that Freedom Call, in addition to their many other irrefutable fortes, are also a first-rate live act. Their concerts see the melodic metal outfit from Southern Germany deliver a veritable a riot of musical zest, positive energy and personal optimism. So it’s not surprising that vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay and his team have been wanting to add this dynamic flair to one of their studio productions without neglecting their familiar love of detail – which the band from Nuremberg have skilfully accomplished on Land Of The Crimson Dawn. “The new tracks simply have more of that rock’n’roll feel,” says Bay, “everything sounds much rawer, there’s more focus on the guitars than before, and the musicians had more freedom during the recordings than they used to have.” This added independence has paid off for Freedom Call: Land Of The Crimson Dawnis definitely one of the band’s most dynamic productions since their 1999 debut Stairway To Fairyland, combining the passion of their live shows with carefully intricate arrangements and technical finesse. The new album will be available from Steamhammer/SPV on 27 February 2012 (Germany: 24 February 2012; USA: March 2012) in three versions: as a jewel case featuring 14 songs, as a limited double CD including six additional bonus tracks – which have chums such as Powerworld, Secret Sphere, Downspirit, Manimal, Neonfly and Hannes Braun (Kissin’ Dynamite) deliver their versions of popular Freedom Call numbers – and on double vinyl LP.
For Chris Bay, Freedom Call mark 2012 is more than ever before a homogenous unit, despite the departure of drummer and co-founder Dan Zimmermann: “We’ve played together on stage in the current line-up since 2007 as Daniel wasn’t available for tours any more due to his numerous commitments with Gamma Ray.” Klaus Sperling (ex-Sinner, -Primal Fear), who joined Freedom Call to replace Zimmermann, has seamlessly blended into the band structure consisting of Chris Bay, guitarist Lars Rettkowitzand bassist Samy Saemann, oozing the Freedom Call philosophy with each of his masterly drumbeats. At the same time, the musicians admit that the loss of Zimmermann, who still participated in the production of the predecessor album Legend Of The Shadowkingas a drummer and co-composer, came as a major challenge to them: “Of course we wanted to prove to ourselves and the public that this new line-up hasn’t lost any of Freedom Call’s strengths.”
A standard which the four band members have been able to live up to: again it’s the extremely melodic and powerful songs which Freedom Call score with in 2012, the opener ‘Age Of The Phoenix’ – which the cover artwork by Jens Reinhold is based on –, the haunting ‘Rockstars’ and the anthemnic ‘Crimson Dawn’. That Freedom Call have picked up the thematically slightly more sinister mood of Legend Of The Shadowkingonly on the melancholy ‘Eternity’ is due to the overall lyrical direction of the new album. Bay: “It’s about Cyberworld in general. Not exclusively about ‘World Of Warcraft’, but a newly created world, a dimension full of fascination and illusion. We’ve written about the phenomenon that more and more people are looking for a second – in this case virtual – world which they can hide in. This also includes a critical status analysis on ‘Killer Gear’. Generally, the album reflects more the joy of music for music’s sake.”
Land Of The Crimson Dawnwas produced by Bay and Stephan Ernst, whose expert aural skills ensured general satisfaction all around in the mix of the 2011 DVD Live In Hellvetia. “Stephan doesn’t actually come from the metal scene, which allowed him to approach our songs without bias. For example he ensured that the arrangements aren’t packed to the rim but leave the listener room to breathe, which makes everything sound more authentic and more oriented to our live sound.”
Talking of live: Freedom Call are set to tour as early as March, presenting all their tried-and-tested virtues and the strongest numbers from their latest album release – to the joy of their fans this time purely in the real world!
Age Of The Phoenix * Rockstars * Crimson Dawn * 66 Warriors * Back Into The Land Of Light * Sun In The Dark * Hero On Video * Valley Of Kingdom * Killer Gear * Rockin` Radio * Terra Liberty * Eternity * Space Legends * Power & Glory
Whether it was at the Wacken Open Air in Germany, in Spain with Blind Guardian, in Moscow with Edguy or at the Sweden Rock Festival, Freedom Call could always proof themselves with outstanding stage performances. After now 10 years and several tours, having released 5 studio albums; one Live album and one EP (Taragon). The melodic metal manics with song writer team Chris Bay (vocals, guitars) and Dan Zimmermann (drums) are on stage all over Europe and you can consider the band as one of the greatest German Metal Acts. Even though their schedule is always filled with a lot of shows, the year 2008 was primarily dedicated to song writing and the production of the new album.
“Legend of the Shadowking” - the new master piece from the metal musicians from South Germany! Stylisticly, the album is a clear extension of their previous albums like Eternity, Circle of Life & Dimensions with unique melodic compositions with which the band has meanwhile earned their unconstrained individual musical character. Best is, you ask a diehard Freedom Call fan for the typical characteristics of their favorite band. Part of it are high speed melodic hymns, powerful mid speed songs, but also sentimental and melancholic elements. This mixture guaranties a listener of Freedom Call albums a diversified and emotional connection, which carries one on a glamorous journey through the facets of melodic heavy metal.
“Legend of the Shadowking” transfers the listener into a musical world lead by bombastic choirs, orchestral arrangements combined with sophisticated guitar riffs - which demonstrates the uniqueness of the music by Freedom Call. The new album covers musically and lyric wise a concept about Ludwig II, King of Bavaria. He had a close connection to the composer Richard Wagner. Freedom Call was moved and inspired by King Ludwig´s extravagance and his passion to musical theatricality. Line Up: Chris Bay – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards Dan Zimmermann – Drums Lars Rettkowitz – Guitars Samy Saemann – Bass „Legend of the Shadowking“ "Ludwig II., King of Bavaria, his life, his passion and his tragical end" is the main topic of this album and is seen in most of the lyrics. When he slowly gets disempowered, after the formation of the First German Empire on January 1st, 1871, he once said "as a king without power I´m only a shadowking!". Although he hated politics and the real world with all it´s responsibilities and duties throughout his life, his people loved him for his romantic nature, his blooming fantasy, his affection and support over art and music and his youthful but impressive appearance. He escaped more and more into a dream world which he created for himself through Richard Wagner´s compositions and preferred solitude. He neglected his state affair duties and eventually drove the state into financial ruin with his outrageous building projects. His fondness towards Wagner and especially his compositions was not returned. Wagner took advantage of his naivety and childish admiration and distanced himself when Ludwig came to close. This separation was only one of many disappointments during King Ludwig´s life! He found himself in a devils circle, couldn´t see a way out anymore. At one point he got pulled down more and more. At the end he became a victim of a conspiracy and died in the dark waters of the Starnberger See lake on June 13th, 1886 - as stated in an official version. The album was produced with a lot of complexity and compassion for arrangements and melody. The extent of musical diversity has also been supported by compositions of the guitar player Lars Rettkowitz. Drums were recorded with the help and expertise of Tommy Newton (Helloween, Kamelot, Gamma Ray) at the Area 51 Studios in Celle. Then the band continued in their own recording FC studio in Nuremberg. There, the band recorded bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals through an extensive process. As the classical aspects correlate to the elements, the band didn´t even spare any efforts to include original instruments. A violist and a soprano were hired for the production to give “Legend of the Shadowking” its distinct authenticity. The cover art work, which shows the last steps of the lost soul of a broken shadowking, was created by a young artist from Bavaria.
The album was mixed and mastered at the end of 2009 by Tommy Newton/ Area 51 Studios in Celle. Immediately following the release of the new album, Freedom Call will go on an extensive European tour again to proof their proficiency live on stage as special guests of the band Gamma Ray from Hamburg.