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Magnus Karlsson: Heart Healer
Magnus Karlsson - Heart Healer - The Metal Opera Album Art

Magnus Karlsson: Heart Healer

Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal
4.5/5.0

The ambitious and ubiquitous composer, producer, and guitarist Magnus Karlsson returns with another new project. Like he doesn't have enough to do during the past 2020 pandemic: Free Fall's We Are The Night, Primal Fear's Metal Commando, or Allen/Olzon's Worlds Apart. Now the talented musician arrives with a metal opera, Heart Healer, which finds Karlsson in somewhat new territory.

Magnus Karlsson  - Click For Larger Image

Magnus Karlsson

Heart Healer is a metal opus wherein all the lead vocals are female with seven participants in play. On this Karlsson comments,

"I have worked with so many amazing singers in my career, but mostly male singers. I have of course worked with some incredible female singers ... But I really wanted to write for and record with more female singers and this was a perfect opportunity."

The roster includes a host of talented women from the Frontiers Music label: Adrienne Cowan (Seven Spires, Sascha Paeth's Masters Of Ceremony, Avantasia), Netta Laurenne (Smackbound, Laurenne/Louhimo), Youmna Jreissati (Ostura), Ailyn (Her Chariot Awaits, ex-Sirenia), Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast), Margarita Monet (Edge of Paradise), and Anette Olzon (The Dark Element, ex-Nightwish).



Musically and thematically, Heart Healer is a "metal opera" in the sense that it combines symphonic orchestration with melodic power metal and, of course, Karlsson's thrilling guitar work. The metal opera also tells a tale:

The opera is about The Heart Healer, a character played by the awesome Adrienne Cowan, who wakes up with no memory and does not know who she is. She soon finds out that she can heal people with just a touch of her hand, but every time she does, she gets weaker. On her journey to find out who she really is, she meets new characters who want to help her, those who want her help, and those who are scared of her and start to hunt her.

All that's left now is to speak to the music with a few observations. Largely, there's a musical formula across this metal opera: a song is introduced by sweeping and expansive orchestration often with a piano line engaged, then riffs and rhythm section rise, the vocals appear, the arrangement becomes immense, dense, sometimes heavy, before leading to a formidable Karlsson guitar solo. Bombastic and over-the-freakin-top? Oh yeah. But it sounds awesome. Fine examples include Come Out Of The Shadows, When The Fire Burns Out, Who Can Stand Alone, and the powerful Back To Life.

But, mostly, I was compltely impressed by how the variety of female vocalists and their styles merged so eloquently within each vocal arrangement. The seven women complimented and completed each other, especially in songs with more than one vocalist was involved. The epitome of this is the final epic choral conclusion, This Is Not The End, wherein all singers are heard. Magnificent! Listen below. I was impressed. I think you may be too.

All things considered (mostly), Magnus Karlsson's metal opera Heart Healer is entertaining and extravagant, but also impressive and formidable. With the combination of fine song composition and seven female vocalists, Heart Healer blows most female-fronted symphonic metal bands out of the water and definitely raises the bar for the genre. Quite recommended.




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The Bottom Line

Magnus Karlsson's metal opera Heart Healer is entertaining and extravagant, but also impressive and formidable. With the combination of fine song composition and seven female vocalists, Heart Healer blows most female-fronted symphonic metal bands out of the water. Quite recommended.

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