Magnus Karlsson - Free Fall
Frontiers Records
Melodic Hard Rock/AOR/Metal
12 songs (53:36)
Release year: 2013
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month

If the name Magnus Karlsson doesn't ring a bell, maybe the singers or bands he has been apart of might ring a bell. He was the main songwriter/instrumentalist of all three Allen-Lande discs, a current guitarist in the band Primal Fear. He has also worked with acts as diverse as Magnum's Bob Catley. This is Magnus's first solo cd, and he is joined by a whose who of melodic/metal singers(including Magnus on the mic himself)

The title track starts off the disc, and it features the always recognizable Russell Allen of Symphony X. This is a great mid-tempo rocker that will bring all three Allen-Lande discs to mind. Allen as always, is powerful, consistent, and melodic. Ralph Scheepers of Primal Fear is next, and he joins his bandmate on the mid to fast tempo, Higher. Scheepers easily reaches the highest notes possible especially during the chorus. Heading Out, features Karlsson himself on lead vocals, and WOW! This guy can sing, he easily could have sang every song on this disc. Its nice to see him step into the spotlight, and showcase another side of his amazing talent. This song falls into the more melodic hard rock/AOR style, and he does it very well. The guitar solo is one of my favorites on the entire disc. TNT(And Karlsson's bandmate in the band Starbreaker) Tony Harnell is featured on the ballad Stronger. As per usual when you put these two together, the song is of the highest quality. With a melodic lead guitar solo to start, Harnell's vocals join in, and his voice just grabs you. If your not for ballads, and think they are anything other than filler, unfortunately this song won't change your mind. The lyrics may make some eyes roll, but to each their own. This song is definitely not a filler, but a highlight! Not My Savior, features Rick Altzi, the current singer of Masterplan. I like the music to this song, but its Altzi's gravely vocals that prevent me from really enjoying this one. I like his voice, in the band At Vance and the disc he did with Thunderstone, but this song doesn't seem to fit his style of vocals. The guitar solo is definitely a highlight of this song. Us Against Them, has an almost prog metal intro riff, before it goes back to AOR. David Readman(Voodoo Circle, Pink Cream 69, and ex-Adagio), is the vocalist on this song. Like many of his previous bands, his voice is consistently strong, with a strong sense of melody and a dynamic range. Unlike Voodoo Circle, the blues-influenced can't be heard here.

Mark Boals(ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/Iron Mask) is next on Our Time Has Come. Another mid to fast tempo song, with a solid chorus. Ready or Not is Karlsson's turn to take the mic again. Like Heading Out, is another solid AOR-styled rocker, with Magnus's newfound vocals. Great harmony guitar leads can be heard in and out of the chorus. Last Tribe, which is also the name of the band Karlsson was in, with Rickard Bengtsson, who is the singer on this song. He is similar to David Readman, with the rougher but melodic vocals, and a vocal range that is pretty dynamic. Fighting features Herman Saming(A.C.T.) who I had not heard of. His vocal style reminds me of Andy Kuntz of Vanden Plas and a little Tobias Sammet(in vocal style, not voice) of Edguy. Dreamers and Hunters feature one of my favorite singers, Mike Andersson of the band Cloudscape( also check out Fullforce as well, featuring former Hammerfall members). Like Russell Allen's song earlier, its melodic with a touch of progressive and AOR. On Fire is closes it out with another melodic AOR rocker, with some acoustic guitars added in, with the heavier riffs. Karlsson's closes out the disc in grand fashion, featuring him singing on the closing track.

From the surprises, like Karlsson taking the mic, to the expected strong vocals, from all involved, Free Fall is a solid piece of melodic hard rock/metal that all fans of these styles of rock/metal should enjoy. I got my copy of it on iTunes, there is an acoustic version of Stronger on the Japanese release version, featuring Karlsson on vocals.

Killing Songs :
ALL but Not My Saviour
Joel quoted 89 / 100
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