The name Magnus Karlsson should be no stranger to any power metal fan, as the guitar wizard has not only worked with the likes of Allen/Lande, Bob Catley, Sinner, Last Tribe, Issa, Starbreaker, among others, but he's also one of the current shredders in German power metal juggernauts Primal Fear. Here on his new solo album Free Fall, instead of opting for an instrumental collection of chops laden songs, Karlsson has instead assembled some of the best singers around and written actual songs to complement these vocalists. Oh yeah, and there's some killer guitar playing involved as well!
The title track kicks things off with the lethal pipes of Symphony X/Adrenaline Mob belter Russell Allen, who has worked with the guitarist in the Allen/Lande project. The singer really soars on this one, and it's a cranking metal tune featuring killer riffs from Karlsson. His mate in Primal Fear Ralf Scheepers shows up for the molten "Higher", and the guitarist lends his solid vocals to the heavy rocker "Heading Out". The lush "Stronger" features former TNT vocalist Tony Harnell, and it's a strong power ballad with catchy hooks and tasty guitar solos. Masterplan/At Vance singer Rick Altzi sizzles on the crunchy progressive metal track "Not My Saviour" (which features an incredible guitar solo), while Pink Cream 69/Voodoo Circle's David Readman dazzles on the anthem "Us Against the World". The much traveled Mark Boals lends his always dependable skills to the symphonic "Our Time Has Come", a tune jacked with soaring keyboards and super crunchy pinch harmonic guitar riffs. Karlsson again handles the vocals on the melodic metal piece "Ready or Not", a real catchy number, and "Fighting", featuring Herman Saming (ACT) is another real catchy melodic rocker. The impressive Mike Andersson from Cloudscape knocks it out of the park on the engaging "Dreamers & Hunters", another fine melodic metal song brimming with lovely keyboards and amazing guitar work.
More of a song based release than a vehicle for Karlsson's six string prowess, Free Fall still manages to deliver some stupendous riffery & solos, but it's all manageable and not showy at all. He's assembled a great list of guest singers here, and they've all done a great job. Melodic metal doesn't get much better than this!
1. Free Fall (lead vocals by Russell Allen)
2. Higher (lead vocals by Ralf Scheepers)
3. Heading Out (lead vocals by Magnus Karlsson)
4. Stronger (lead vocals by Tony Harnell)
5. Not My Saviour (lead vocals by Rick Altzi)
6. Us Against The World (lead vocals by David Readman)
7. Our Time Has Come (lead vocals by Mark Boals)
8. Ready or Not (lead vocals by Magnus Karlsson)
9. Last Tribe (lead vocals by Rickard Bengtsson)
10. Fighting (lead vocals by Herman Saming)
11. Dreamers & Hunters (lead vocals by Mike Andersson)
12. On Fire (lead vocals by Magnus Karlsson)