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MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL Kingdom Of Rock

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Thursday, January 7, 2016 @ 1:47 PM


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MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL
Kingdom Of Rock

2015 Frontiers




Over the years, Swedish guitar virtuoso Magnus Karlsson has proven himself as one of the most prolific songwriters in the melodic metal genre, having recorded with PRIMAL FEAR, STARBREAKER and ALLEN/LANDE, among others. He is the go-to guitarist for many singers in the genre. Kingdom Of Rock is the second solo album for Karlsson’s band FREE FALL, continuing where the excellent (self-titled) 2013 debut left off. On that album, Karlsson teamed with vocalists like Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR), Tony Harnell (TNT), Rick Altzi (AT VANCE), Mark Boals (RING OF FIRE, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) and his ALLEN/LANDE bandmate Russell Allen.

The list of vocalists is like a who’s who of melodic metal. On this new FREE FALL album, Karlsson teams with his other ALLEN/LANDE bandmate Jorn Lande, opening the album with the explosive title track “Kingdom Of Rock”. Jorn is one of the best singers in the world, and Karlsson has crafted a perfect canvas for him to sing over. Next there’s Jakob Samuel (THE POODLES), whose piercing vocal on “Out Of The Dark” works very well. The track features some serious crunch from Karlsson on guitar. The great Joe Lynn Turner appears on “No Control”, one of the most satisfying tracks here. The hook on this song is vintage JLT and the chorus stayed in my head for days.

When you want someone to sing about the demons rising or angels crying, you want former BLACK SABBATH vocalist Tony Martin, who sounds as good as he ever did on “When The Sky Falls”. Karlsson’s solo is masterful as well. One of my favorite tracks is “Angel Of The Night”, an up-tempo melodic masterpiece featuring David Readman (PINK CREAM 69/VOODOO CIRCLE). A fantastic vocal by David and dynamite riff from Karlsson here. The awesome vocals of Rick Altzi lift the mid-tempo stomp of “Another Life” up to another level. Altzi has the perfect voice for this track; smooth as glass, yet gritty enough to really put it over the top. Former TNT vocalist Tony Harnell returns for the track ”Never Look Away” and HAREM SCAREM vocalist Harry Hess sings “A Heart So Cold”. Fellow Swede Rebecca De La Motte performs on the poignant ballad “The Right Moment”. Magnus Karlsson himself sings lead vocals on two tracks, “I Am Coming For You” and “Walk This Road Alone”, both of which are excellent. “I Am Coming For You” in particular features a memorable chorus, a tasty solo and an impressive lead vocal from Karlsson.

Magnus Karlsson’s value as a band member is very high; everything he touches turns to gold. Again, he plays every instrument on the album except drums (excellent work by Daniel Flores again) and really is one of the most talented composers in the genre. His ability to get the best from vocalists is amazing and his guitar work on Kingdom Of Rock is impeccable. There are 11 songs total, clocking in around an hour. The album artwork is pretty badass too, featuring Karlsson holding a flaming guitar over a pit filled with guitars and lava. The kingdom of rock is seen in the background.

Kingdom Of Rock is available from Frontiers Records. There is an acoustic version of the song “No Control” as a Japanese bonus track. Highly recommended!

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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