HEART HEALER/MAGNUS KARLSSON – Heart Healer – The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson
Grand in scope and with a classically inspired and hugely symphonic edge to it, "Heart Healer" is Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson’s latest opus and this time around he has allied himself with various well-known female vocalists such as Adrienne Cowan, Anette Olzon, Netta Laurenne, and Noora Louhimo among others.
As ambitious and epic-sounding as this ten-track offering is, it is also rather uneven and things kind of ebb and flow throughout with respect to whether they are interesting and passionate or simply meandering and lack excitement. The two first tracks on the disc appear uninspired but then things pick up when the gloriously catchy and heartfelt "Who Can Stand Alone" comes into full view. Other highlights include the memorable "Into the Unknown" and "Evil’s Around the Corner" whose goth-tinged melodies and melancholy atmospheres are impressive. Utilizing different vocalists for something like this is an intriguing idea and one cannot deny that it sounds quite massive and majestic. Also, the production is crisp and punchy as hell, but sadly, it lacks warmth and vigor. A more vibrant and livelier feel would have done wonders for it. Still, there are plenty of cool moments on the disc and it is certainly not as complex or infinitely layered as the phrase "The Metal Opera" would have you believe. For those of you who worship grandiose metal with prominent keyboards and soaring vocals, this could in actual fact prove to be a treasure trove. While I appreciate many aspects of the album myself, it lacks cohesion and loses its momentum a little too often for me to return to this again in the future.