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Heart Healer – The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson

Heart Healer
The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson
by Jean-François Poulin at 24 March 2021, 10:38 AM

HEART HEALER is a Melodic Power/ Symphonic Metal band from various countries including USA, Sweden, Spain and beyond. This is the Metal opera project from Magnus Karlsson, known for his work with PRIMAL FEAR and MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL. He has been a very busy man in 2020, releasing a new album from his two projects and working on this Metal Opera. He recruited 7 female vocalist for this project, some widely known and some new fresh faces for the world to hear.

For your information, you have the presence of : Adrienne Cowan from SEVEN SPIRES and AVANTASIA, Ailyn from HER CHARIOT AWAITS, Youmna Jreissati from OSTURA, Netta Laurenne from SMACKBOUND, Noora Louhimo from BATTLE BEAST, Margarita Monet from EDGE OF PARADISE and Anette Olzon from DARK ELEMENT and formerly of NIGHTWISH. You have a mix of established singers and some really lesser-known local talent. I do enjoy the fact that we discover new talented singers, and they are at the forefront of this daunting project.

So you have 7 vocalists for 10 songs which is not much honestly. You want to give time and space for each singer to make their presence felt with their allotted time. Each singer portrays a character in this opera, and the Heart Healer herself portrayed by the stunning Adrienne Cowan. She 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. Throughout her journey she meets other people that try to help her, hurt her, or even hunt her. She becomes one with herself at the end and understands the power she possesses and how to control it.

Adrienne Cowan in the starring role is an outstanding choice. She is one of the most versatile singers out there, male or female in all of Metal. She should be known more because her power and range are impressive. Her work with SEVEN SPIRES is top notch and ‘’Emerald Seas’’ might be one of my favorite albums of the last decade. She has such a presence and charisma in her voice, it is very cinematic and she gets paired with some really great vocalists. Her duet with BATTLE BEAST’s Noora Louhimo is quite moving. You have two contrasting styles but they mesh really well together, probably 2 of the best female vocalists out there and they are on the brink of super stardom.

I was not overly impressed by ‘’Who Can Stand All Alone’’, which is a duo between Adrienne and Anette Olzon, the song felt like a one-off for me. It’s very catchy and has that Pop-Metal vibe about it but it didn’t offer something to the story at hand. When I compare it to the rest of the album, it feels like thrown in but it does show another side of the singers obviously. I did however enjoy ‘’Weaker’’, a very straightforward Power Ballad showing a softer side of Adrienne Cowan’s impressive skills. It’s something that we don’t hear in SEVEN SPIRES so it was a nice surprise. This one may be the most stunning song of the album and a total blind shot in the dark that turned into an awesome song.

It is a very powerful album, filled with some of the best female voices but it does lack in substance unfortunately. There might be too many singers on it or simply not enough time for people to really shine through. It’s about one hour long and you have seven singers. The time is divided between them and sometimes you would have enjoyed more songs and more presence of some of the voices chosen for this project. I know a double album would have been so much more trouble and work but I think this album would have benefited from a longer length. Each singer brings their A-Game but I would have enjoyed songs that spotlight only one singer, probably one of the lesser-known singers from this project.

The story is a bit convoluted; the lyrics make the story progress but at times I did feel lost a bit in the storytelling. I can guess most of what is happening, but I think a longer album would have also benefited the story at hand. I had some flashbacks from the Forgotten Realms books I read while in College of even The Seeker books I enjoyed when I was back in University. The story is interesting but could have been bolder and louder and full of twists and turns. You obviously don’t have the complete storytelling of a Arjen Anthony Lucassen from AYREON or a Tobias Sammett from AVANTASIA but it’s a good start for a new project that I hope will continue in the future.

The album ends with a bang with all seven singers that participate. It’s a musical collision and a great way to end the Metal opera. I think in all my life of listening to music, this is the first time I have heard seven singers belting it out on one single song. The production and mastering must have been such a tedious task to say the least! A solid effort, a weaker story than I would like but this album is a way to discover old favorites, new favorites and unknown talents throughout the world of metal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Awake
2. Come Out of the Shadows
3. Who Can Stand All Alone
4. Back to Life
5. Into the Unknown
6. When the Fire Burns Out
7. Evil’s Around the Corner
8. Mesmerized
9. Weaker
10. This is Not the End
Lineup:
Magnus Karlsson – Guitars, Bass and Keyboards
Daniel Tengberg – Cello
Anders Kollerfors - Drums
Erika Savstrom Engman - Violin
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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