A prolific musician, Magnus Karlsson has worked with many legends from the hard rock and melodic metal scene. You’ll find his name attached to works by Magnum’s Bob Catley, TNT’s Tony Harnell, Russell Allen, Bobby Kimball and Phenomena. He’s also been a member of Euro metallers Primal Fear. Perhaps most importantly, the Swedish multi-instrumentalist has received great press for his own project Free Fall, designed to showcase his melodic metal prowess behind an impressive roll call of guest vocalists. An enjoyable self-titled release set a high musical benchmark in 2013 with a collection of very European sounding bangers. A follow up, 2015’s ‘Kingdom of Rock‘ (not to be confused with an identically titled project from the legendary Michael Schenker), sometimes showed a lighter side with contributions from Joe Lynn Turner and Harem Scarem man Harry Hess and although a more hit and miss disc, it still provided a decent collection filler for anyone enamoured with the style.
Benedictum’s third album ‘Dominion’ (released in 2010) presented a huge step forward for the US power metal outfit. Their first release for Frontiers Records afforded the band a bigger budget than their previous and Benedictum seemed to relish this new beginning. While the lyrics left much to be desired, musically it wasn’t a complete loss, including some impressive riffs throughout, bolstered by more than a few chunky drum parts. ‘Dominion’ wasn’t an especially great record, but by comparison, 2013’s ‘Obey’ is a crushing disappointment.
Tony ‘The Cat’ Martin rarely gets any credit for his time in Black Sabbath between 1987-90/1993-97. That’s a pity, since he always did his absolute best with the given material, while tackling a job that – in rock terms – was the epitome of “dead man’s shoes”. Maybe those six studio records would now be better respected if they’d been issued under a different band name? We’ll never really know for sure. In many ways, this fourth release from Italian guitar maestro Aldo Giuntini – the third to feature Martin – is similar to those largely unloved Sabbath records in that many of the tunes come at a stomping mid-pace with a gritty guitar sound – perfect in many ways for Martin’s vocal range. While it’s a record with no real relevance at the time of its release [and certainly a far cry from the “breath of fresh air” promised in the press materials – what were they thinking?], it certainly would be unfair to suggest that ‘IV’ doesn’t have a good stab at providing some old school entertainment.