Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall – Kingdom Of Rock (2015)

I don’t get to review many of these classic heavy metal and rock discs, but it’s a known fact that I’m a fiend for them, which is why I’m going to move the heavens and Earth in order to be able to focus on records like this one from Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall. As you might expect, Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall (we’ll call them Free Fall for short) is a Swedish musical collective which at the core consists of the man himself (Primal Fear) as well as Jaime Salazar (Allen/Lande – remember my review for that one?) on the drums. While Primal Fear is more of a power metal act, with Free Fall Karlsson takes a more classic heavy metal and sometimes AOR tone to these tracks, which definitely works well with all of the guest vocalists. But what guests are we talking about? Well, Jorn Lande kicks off the album with the Dio influenced title cut (5:25) which goes into the awesomely catchy “Out Of The Dark” (4:35) where Jakob Samuel takes the lead. He sings his ass off on the piece, delivering exactly what I’d expect from classic heavy metal and doing justice to the very roots of the genre. I’m not even aware of The Poodles, but I will definitely be looking into more of their music after hearing this awesome performance. Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, Deep Purple) takes over for the AOR cut “No Control” (4:50) which bursts right out of the eighties and make me remember the days when rock was still king. Then we have the jaw-dropping “When The Sky Falls” (6:15) which isn’t just incredible insofar as Karlsson’s majestic leads, but in Tony Martin’s (ex-Black Sabbath) mesmerizing performance. You’ll have to forgive me for this, but when I first heard “When The Sky Falls” I thought of Ronnie James Dio from the start. I said to myself, “this is the kind of song that Dio would have sounded absolutely awesome on. It was practically made for him to sing.” You know, I felt that. It was definitely his song, and Tony Martin did a good job at giving him that moment of remembrance. He’s also inspired me to go back and listen to his Sabbath albums, which I’m sure are absolutely remarkable – at least from what this performance has shown me.

The leads are strong with this one, leaving me to a performance that literally has my mouth hanging open like the catch of the day. This is the kind of record I could still blast when I hit my seventies and eighties (after turning up my hearing aid or whatever they’ll have in the future) and there’s just something here that really speaks to my tastes as a metalhead. I’ve always loved the extreme stuff, but my phone’s playlist is completely filled with catchy stuff like this and I’m not ashamed to admit it. As the record goes on, it only ventures further out with the folk inspired approach apparent on “Another Life” (4:54) as well as the female vocal present on “The Right Moment” (5:16) in which Rebecca De La Motte seems romantically haunting. It doesn’t matter who sings on the record, or what they choose to do with the song, because it always works out in the end. That being said, I’m not really sure who’s going to check out this awesome amalgamation of heavy metal heavyweights, but I would feel a greater appreciation for mankind if it managed to really top the rock charts, as anything this powerful should. Like it or not, this is real heavy metal music and everything else in our little genre has spun forth from it. Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall was by no means a fool’s effort, and proves that the metal gods are indeed smiling high above us, their golden axes raised high in the air. This is absolute magic, there’s no doubt about it.

(11 Tracks, 57:00)

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