Rage & Freedom Call
The 24th of March 2006
Heilige Scheisse was the first immediate reaction of mine when finding out a couple of gigs of the long time German teuton metal veterans, Rage, had been booked in Finland after a 15 year break. The German metal trio indeed debuted back in 1991 at a huge outdoor festival together with Sepultura and UDO by playing in front of the huge crowd. Times change and some water has flowed under the bridge since those days during the last 15 years in the RAGE camp as the founding and leader member, Peavey, is still the one and only left from those days, but nowadays with a much stronger line-up ever before.
Before Peavey’s perfect men came to unleash the real powerful human metal, their country mates Freedom Call handled the mandatory opening act role. The German power metal squad had recently undergone a few radical line-up changes as both guitarist Cedric Dupont and bassist Ilker Ersin decided to pull out of the band after the fourth album had been released and were quickly replaced by new faces Lars Rettkowitz on guitar and Armin Donderer. Despite all of the line-up hassles , a real unexpected even positive surprise from the standpoint of the Finnish audience was to witness the keyboard player of the Finnish Gamma Ray tributeband, Eero Kaukoluoma, in the rank, having been recruited to replace the band’s exact player Nils Neumann. Fortunately Freedom Call didn’t have to recruit a Finnish guitarist like Gamma Ray had to do when visiting Finland in January.
Freedom Call’s set was nothing but an utter firework of the traditional double bass heroic powerful metal anthems from the beginning to the end. Even though the sound appeared to be quite in the lost in the early stage of their set, but it smoothly got improved dramatically better, creating a nice pleasant metallic listening experience. The setlist had been created to consist of the material taken from various past albums, but however the material of the band’s latest effort titled “CIRCLE OF LIFE” had a privileged place in the night’s setlist for example “Mother Earth”, “Hero Nation” and… “Hunting High And Low”. “Hey guys didn’t you remember the Finnish Stratovarius happened to have the same titled song ?!” And of course a plenty of other songs picked up such as "Land Of Light". The set was concluded by a little bit amusing “Hymn To The Brave”.
The room of the stage was quite limited because of Zimmerman’s own massive drum artillery took a real lions share of the whole size of the stage. Apparently both the vocalist and a new guitarist seemed to have forgotten the drumkit placed behind their backs as both occasionally used to hassle with microwires and blunder to the drumkits. Obviously the guys are not used to having so limited moving area on the stage.
Although the band seems not to have any huge following in Finland, apparently the band appeared to satisfied with the good respond from the Finn power metal freaks. Despite all these line-up changes as mentioned above, the whole band handled this support role well.
Freedom Call’s setlist
We Are One
Hunting High And Low
Land Of Light
Hymn To The Brave
Even though 15 years had passed by since the last gig of Rage in Finland, but I for one have managed to witness them at a couple of major European metal festival during the last few years. It could fairly be said, there wasn’t any kind of huge exception from Rage’s gig due to judging by those festival appearances which have been quite breathless.
Even though Peavey’s size and outlook has changed over the years, but his sense of humour and above all his friendly and polite interaction with the audience was absolutely professional and whole-hearted. He even recalled the previous gig at that outdoor festival 15 years ago. Rage kicked off the set with a couple of brand new tunes from the forthcoming (17th ?) album and it could be safely said, the band’s grip on making tremendous teutonic power metal isn't in any way rusty, on the contrary. Both “Speak Of The Dead “ and “No Fear” rolled perfectly and were a piece of evidence of the band’s ability to create catchy melodic songs being typical songs of Rage. However “Suite Lingua Mortis” continues the more symphonic based approach that Rage has done before with the Lingua Mortis orchestra a few years back on XIII. As it is impossible to bring the whole massive orchestra for gigs, all the symphonic parts were played from tapes.
It has become more than obvious the semilegendary tune “Don’t Fear The Winter” is a real must battle hymn for Rage as the whole song presents one of the most memorable songs in the Rage career. The way how the song got started was quite hilarious as drummer machine Mike Terrana sung the first lines before Peavey and guitarist Victor took over and the front line of the safety barrier was suddenly a whole bunch of banging heads.
In general the whole Rage trio appeared to be in good strike and pleased with the reception that they got from the crowd even though there wasn’t that much people left. The guitar wizard Victor Smolski got thrilled to start jamming some funny fusion jazz parts all of a sudden in the middle of the gig and Mike Terrana joined in as well whereas Peavey wondered for a few seconds before starting jamming with the other guys as well.
The guitarist Victor Smolski is definitely one hell of a guitar virtuoso. He absolutely enjoys playing and being on the stage as his devotion could be seen when playing the guitar with the huge passion and eyes closed. As for Mike Terrana, the man must have spent half of his lifetime in the local gym, training his muscles as he looked more a real bodyduilder maniac than a normal metal drummer. However Terrana’s involvement in Rage has brought the important input on how tight Rage nowadays sounds on the stage. Generally watching the trio’s playing and stage manners, it is obvious that Rage 2006 definitely consists of strong and ambitious musicians who are widely respected in the metal genre. It isn't any wonder that the band literally blew the support band off from the stage and conquered the Finnish metal audience with the tight and extreme professional gig.
Although approx. a little over 300 tickets had been sold in advance and in general all in all 400 people had crawled to the gig, but hopefully Rage won’t wait another 15 years to arrive at Finland for a few gigs in the future.
Speak Of The Dead
Turn The Page
Crucified / Straight To Hell
Enough Is Enough
Baby, I’m your Nightmare
Suite Lingua Mortis
War Of Worlds
Don’t Fear The Winter
Higher / Jaw-Breaker
FREEDOM CALL pics