For anyone who knows my musical tastes, they know that Magnus Karlsson is my favorite songwriter in hard rock and melodic metal. From his work with Primal Fear, Allen/Lande, Starbreaker, Kiske/Somerville, and Bob Catley among others, Magnus has earned a reputation as one of the premier songwriters in his genre. In 2013, Karlsson finally decided to release his own album under his own name and called it Magnus Karlsson’s FreeFall featuring an all-star cast of of vocalists from the world of hard rock and melodic metal. The album was extremely well received by the fans and metal press as well.
Two years later and Magnus Karlsson’s Freefall has returned. This time, Magnus enlisted a dream team featuring some of the strongest melodic singers in metal and hard rock, many of whom were already featured on the debut album. The list includes Tony Harnell (Skid Row, TNT, Starbreaker), Rick Altzi (Masterplan, At Vance), David Readman (Pink Cream 69, Voodoo Circle), Jorn Lande, Jakob Samuel (The Poodles), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Malmsteen, Deep Purple), Tony Martin (Black Sabbath), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) and Rebecca De La Motte. Rounding out the line-up on the album is Jaime Salazar on drums with production by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Primal Fear, Amaranthe, Pretty Maids and more).
The album begins with the majestic and glorious title track, and who better than the amazing Jorn Lande to lend his melodic raspy vocals to this kickass hard rock anthem in the tradition of Allen/Lande. Huge vocal harmonies, hooks, brilliant guitar leads, and a sing-a-long chorus make this song the perfect opener for what is to come.
Jakob Samuel’s vocals are perfect for the riff-tastic Out of The Dark, an energetic melodic hard rock song with a soaring vocal during the chorus.
The legendary Joe Lynn Turner lends his magnificent pipes to No Control. The man is ageless, sounding just as potent and amazing as he did in the 80’s with Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen. The song is another hard rocking anthem with a fantastic chorus that will be stuck in your head for days.
When the Sky Falls is a heavier rock/metal track with former Black Sabbath frontman Tony Martin sounding better than he has in years with a strong performance and an excellent memorable chorus with a Dio-esque vocal melody line.
Pink Cream 69’s David Readman lends his bluesy edge to the heavy rocking Angel of the Night. There some fantastic lead guitar and harmony leads throughout the song courtesy of Karlsson. Readman’s vocals fit this song perfectly of course. Karlsson just has a talent for picking the right vocalist for the right song.
Karlsson takes over the lead vocal reigns on I Am Coming For You, a slower and darker melodic hard rocker with an intense vibe.
Masterplan vocal powerhouse Rick Altzi adds his vocal power to Another Life, a kickass powerful anthem with incredible Maiden-esque guitar harmonies and a bluesy groove to create a highly enjoyable song.
One of hard rock’s best vocalist and someone who has worked extensively with Karlsson in the past, Tony Harnell is once again part of freefall on Never Look Back, a melodic AOR song with a heavy edge and a massive chorus made for rock radio. Karlsson and Harnell prove they are as potent as ever working together.
Two vocalists I wasn’t overly familiar with is Harry Hess of Harem Scarem on the song, A Heart So Cold has a riff reminiscent of Reign of Fire from Armored Saint and Hess has a powerful and strong voice with a magnificent range and melodic sensibility. The other vocalist is Rebecca De La Motte on the beautiful piano ballad The Right Moment. De La Motte has a strong voice with an emotional connection to the material and she makes the chorus soar with her considerable talent. Overall, the song doesn’t really sync with the material on the rest of the album, but it’s a great song nonetheless.
Karlsson takes the lead vocals again on the albums final song, Walk This Road Alone, a mid-tempo heavy metal headbanger with a killer riff and Karlsson’s vocals are perfect for the song, giving it an emotional and passionate edge. Lots of great melodic vocal lines and a shining powerful chorus make this a great choice to end another great album to add to Karlsson’s extensive discography. Highly recommended for fans of Karlsson’s work as well as fans of melodic AOR and metal.