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Live Majesty. - 95%

hells_unicorn, February 24th, 2006

I’ve waited a long time for this and finally my wish has been granted,, I have experienced Freedom Call’s live sound. Being an American with a minimal constitution, it is very difficult for me to fly out to either Nuremborg Germany or Hultsfred Sweden in order to view Freedom Call in the flesh, so this is essentially the next best thing.

The production is stellar for a live album, the only flaw being that at times the keyboards are a bit hard to hear, particularly when Chris Bay is playing his guitar solos. All of the songs are faithfully recreated and stand as true testaments of their studio created counterparts on the various albums that they populate. The fast songs have no lack of energy, and the ballads/epics are no less beautiful that their original album released versions.

One particular point of interest I wish to point out is how radically different Cede’s soloing on the Stairway to Fairyland/Crystal Empire songs are from Sascha Gershner’s original renditions, driven mostly by more technical intrigue and more exaggerated articulations. This brings a new element to the fold, making this album well worth a listen for even those whom are not partial to live albums.

As far as the 2nd disc is concerned, the addition of the Taragon EP on this release is a godsend for every non-French fan of their music, except for core-fans like me whom are willing to spend extra to get this imported from it’s host country. As such I will leave individual reviews of these songs to a separate review of the Taragon EP itself. But I would like to make some points about the other 2 bonus tracks. Hiroshima is a decent cover that is well-adapted from it’s original, less heavy format. But I found myself more enthusiastic for the Dr. Stein cover. The only band that can take a Helloween song and make it more technically impressive and more fun to listen to is Freedom Call. The guitar solo section in particular is quite a treat for the fan of impressive yet musical intrigue.

Since all of the songs on this live album have already been individually reviewed by me, I will simply categorize them into 3 groups based on how they are performed. (1) Extravagant (2) Exceptional (3) Very Good.

(1) Tears of Taragon, Freedom Call, Heart of the Rainbow, The Quest, Land of Light.
(2) Metal Invasion, Shine On, We are one, Rise Up, Warriors.
(3) Hymn to the Brave, The Spell, Eyes of the World.

In Conclusion, recommended to Freedom Call fans of every variety, as well to fans of melodic power metal with fantasy based lyrics. As far as live albums go for this genre, it doesn’t get much better.

Perfect tracklist and good performance - 80%

Spectrum, November 27th, 2004

I finally pulled myself together to review this album. Live Invasion is Freedom Call's first live album, released in 2004 on SPV. I have all FC albums. Once I loved them a lot. Now I don't listen to them so often, but they are still good. Crystal Empire is my favourite.

As a live album, the setlist on LI is PERFECT! (See below for a full listing.) OK, almost. I would prefer to trade Land of Light and Eyes of the World for Ages of Power and Over the Rainbow or Tears Falling. But other than that, every one of my favourite FC songs are there (except a few that probably wouldn't work so well live, like Pharao).

The performance is good from all sides (tho not exceptional). Especially kudos to Freedom Call for pulling off the vocal harmonies remarkably well. Backing vocals usually suck on live albums, but they are quite good on this one.

Production is OK. Drums are sort of too loud, and guitars and keyboards are too low. Especially the boards are often inaudible. Length is a very respectable 67 minutes. I dunno which songs to recommend as highlights, tho.

The special edition comes with a 37 minutes bonus disc featuring the entire Taragon EP, a special "story version" of Tears of Taragon and two new covers, namely Doctor Stein by Helloween and a song named Hiroshima that I don't know.

The Taragon EP has four songs: Warriors of Light, Dancing with Tears in my Eyes, Heart of the Brave and Kingdom Come. DWTIME is a cover (Ultravox, I think), the rest are FC songs. Of all these especially Warriors of Light and Hiroshima are great.

Overall, I'll rate the album 80%. Excellent tracklist and good sound, and great bonus material.

Metal is meant to be cheesy - 80%

StillDeath, October 19th, 2004

First off I have to say that while being a big fan of power metal, I am not a big fan of pure power metal live releases. Must be something about the studio works that have perfect versions of songs possible. Freedom Call’s live is an exception with Blind Guardian probably there as well.

What is included on 2 cds is a live cd and an EP not issued in US plus a couple of covers. The live cd 1 is played with high energy and near studio production. In between songs we can hear the crowd going nuts. Ho hum. The guitars are at the front, always a good sign. Freedom Call play typical vanilla German power metal. Soaring sing alongs, shredding, melodic solos, memorable verses, catchy hooks. I cannot comment on track selection as I only have one Freedom Call studio cd. All songs are equally high quality and that is a good sign as well. They are effortless listening, however there is nothing extraordinary brilliant to speak of, which is why I did not rate this in the 90’s.

The vocalist sounds like a “happy” version of Andi Deris. Freedom Call is basically ear candy. They are always happy or always high, I can’t tell from listening. Some goofy pictures from the professional inlay booklet might suggest either, so no help there.

The second cd is a free bonus EP Taragon and it is on par with live selection, which would make it excellent. The standout here is “Warriors of Light”, it is flowing and catchy, close to the epitome of power metal sing along track. The long version of Tears of Taragon has a stupid spoken narration in the middle; it does not make the song skippable at all. I don’t take my metal with a dose of narration, not what the doctor prescribed. It is not as ghastly as Rhapsody narratives, just unnecessary after you hear the song for 50th time, which you would want to do after you hear it. I am not penalising Freedom Call for anything on this bonus cd by the way, right the opposite this stellar second cd is one more reason to get this release. Now onto the covers. Hiroshima is decent, not as good as preceding EP though. Dr Stein is slightly lighter version of the original, otherwise replicated note for note.

One more thing, metal is meant to be cheesy. It is art after all. I know that Lars Ulrich was saying recently how much it hurts his pussy that 80’s metal is so cheesy and he wants none of it. Modern Metallica has few artistic qualities, so here is a good point to wrap up this review.

If you are a power metal fan then you can play this non stop till the cows come home. Instantly recognisable clichéd 80’s power metal! No surprises here.