Magnus Karlsson’s Freefall - Kingdom of Rock

Magnus Karlsson’s Freefall Kingdom of Rock cover
Magnus Karlsson’s Freefall
Kingdom of Rock
Frontiers Music Srl
Right, another one of those “star-studded” solo albums of a guitarist, (or drummer, or keyboardist – it doesn’t matter) with a multitude of guest singers, (many of who do this as a side activity to their bands) and are mostly bad or average and in rare exceptional cases, pretty good or even exceptional.
Magnus, who’s known for his various collaboration in the metal genre (particularly within the Frontiers Records talent pool) and his membership in German Power metallers Primal Fear, is a pretty good guitarist & composer and his first “Freefall” album was not a bad one by any stretch…
Here, I would assume he handles all instruments bar drums that Jamie Salazar seems to take care of.
Opener “Kingdom of Rock” features none other than the Nordic King of Rock, Jorn Lande on vocals, a very talented man with whom Magnus has worked in the past. It’s a glorious and pompous track of majestic rock that Lande sings quite impeccably in.
Onwards “Out of the Dark” with The Poodles frontman Jakob Samuel assuming the mic, is a faster and more dramatic, but to the point rocker that pleases even more...
“No Control” shimmers with the golden vocals of Joe Lynn Turner and it’s obviously a lot more melodic and mid-tempo, something that really suits his voice and fits with the sort of material that you’d expect to hear him singing.
“When the Sky Falls” has ex-Black Sabbath man Tony Martin singing and is a more muscular and darker tune… somehow Martin pulls off a rather strong performance on a song that sounds like a cross between “Odyssey” era Yngwie and Martin’s era Sabbath...
David Readman of PC69 and countless smaller projects assumes vocals for “Angel of the Night”, which tries to reignite the album – quite a decent tune with Karlsson seemingly having made for the most part “wise” and conscious decisions about which singer sings which song… speaking of whom, he actually assumes the vocals for the next track, “I Am Coming For You”, which is a pretty melodic tune that’s not a mile away from PC69 in their mid-era and proves to be quite a decent vocalist as well, without obviously being as good as his “guests”, but without making a fool out of himself either.
“Another Life” begins with a jiggy little riff before it goes power metal and features Rick Altzi on vocals, who has assumed the role of singer in Masterplan lately and who sounds quite close to Jorn obviously, when he does his “Coverdale” thing but in a decidedly more charged and virile way… there’s also that dramatic exaggeration that Soto is well known for creeping in there as well, on a tune that’s not too bad, but somewhat seems to lose its direction a bit during the solo.
Former TNT and current Skid Row frontman, Tony Harnell sings on the next one “Never Look Away”, but he sounds way to nasal in parts of it, maybe it’s the way his vocals were mixed? Because it doesn’t seem to be that he’s struggling for the notes… the song isn’t exactly the best pick from the album and while it fits Harnell well, it still feels a bit awkward. The solo is probably one of the few ones that really stand out on the album though.
“A Heart so Cold” featuring Harry Hess, from Canadian pop rockers Harem Scarem, fits his style sufficiently well and manages to not outstay its welcome by much.
“The Right Moment” introduces us to the considerable talents of Rebecca De La Motte on vocals, who’s obviously someone that Magnus found out and wanted to collaborate with… the tune itself it’s a Scandi pop/melodic rock tune that seems to work rather well.
Last but not lease, Magnus assumes the role of singer again for the closer “Walk This Road Alone”, a decent mid-paced rocker that sees Magnus pour himself out, but also must have pushed him a bit performance wise.
He also seems to be tackling an acoustic version of “No Control”, which he does well on. That’s some “bonus track” probably for Japan or whatnot…
“Kingdom of Rock” is an album of good songs sung by great singers, but suffers a bit because of its inconsistency. It’s not the best or the worse album of this type and I’d probably say that I would place it along the “better” attempts, but it’s not “off the charts” good. You know, if you like the singers involved, you’re not gonna hate it…