I love metal operas. Avantasia, for example, are one of my absolute favorite acts over all genres. Thus, I was very interested when I read that Magnus Karlsson gathered talents like Adrienne Cowan for a new project, Heart Healer. The album has been released on 12th March 2021.
Heart Healer – About The Project
The driver behind the Heart Healer project, Magnus Karlsson, is a Swedish songwriter, guitarist, keyboarder and producer, who is quite a big name in the heavy metal business. Most people likely know him as a member of Primal Fear. He joined the German band in 2008. He operated in many other projects and bands, however. One of the most prominent ones is his very own Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall, but there are also acts like Starbreaker, for which Karlsson has been a founding member.
For his latest project Heart Healer, Karlsson gathered some quite interesting names of the metal scene. I absolutely love Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires, who also supported Avantasia on their last tour. Other vocalists are Ailyn, Netta Laurenne, Youmna Jreissati, Noora Louhimo, Margarita Monet and Anette Olzon.
Heart Healer – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 61 minutes.
Adrienne Cowan took the role of the naming character of the project. In Awake, she is introduced as the Heart Healer. During the curse of the opera, she finds out about her powers. However, using them makes her weaker and people are afraid of her.
Awake, but I don’t know who I am
I don’t know where I’m from
No memories. How did I end up in this place
Hey, am I really all alone
I can feel that someone’s here
Tell me where I am
Tell me now
Cowan is of course an excellent cast. No issues for her to clearly sing a wide range of notes in a crystal clear way. Of course, there are a lot of instrumental and atmospheric parts in this bombastic close to eight minutes track as well. Powerful guitar licks, joined by background choirs or orchestral elements – Magnus Karlsson did a great and detailed work here. Awake is for sure a great opener for the album.
2. Come Out Of The Shadows
The second track introduces three characters, sung by Margarita Monet, Netta Laurenna and Youmna Jreissati. They feel out that something is wrong – and they feel to see somebody, who is gone the next moment.
She whispers in my ear, tells me to feel no fear
Then she fades away
I try to reach her, but it’s too late
The dramatic setting of the song boosts the frightening, dark atmosphere of the song. The interaction of the female voices increases the opera-alike theatre feeling. Towards the end of Come Out Of The Shadows, the song turns into a mystic, somehow harmonic atmosphere.
3. Who Can Stand All Alone
The Heart Healer is back in action – and this time she meets a new character, sung by Anette Olzon. Starting with piano sounds and rather light rock instrumentation, the song becomes more powerful with intense work on the drums. The chorus is indeed a catchy one.
Who can stand all alone
Who can walk through life without anyone
Are you strong enough on your own
A time will come when you’ll need someone
4. Back To Life
Adrienne Cowan meets Margarita Monet and Ailyn Gimenez in this fourth song. This song is indeed a beauty, in which the Healer is is again doing her services. The song is very metaphoric and the interaction between the three ladies is remarkable. Last, but not least, there is that chorus, which is just superb:
Come, reach out your hand
I will touch your soul
You will never suffer again
Give me your pain
I will heal your heart
I will bring you back to life
5. Into The Unknown
The 7:21 minute song Into The Unknown is one of the two songs which have been released before the album. Noora Louhimo is doing this solo track, reflecting on just being healed.
How could you heal me with just one touch
How could you find the darkness in my soul
How can I ever thank you enough
I am ready to face the world
I am real
Full of life
My heart is beating like a drum
You can’t stop me now
I am living now
To hold me back
You can never catch me, I’m too fast
I am ready now
I will fly into the unknown
This song is a great proof how well Magnus Karlsson selected these female voices. Louhimo does an astonishing job. Getting into the story of a metal opera nowadays, without a story book on Spotify, is all about telling the drama with music. Heart Healer does well on the melodic side as well as through the microphone. Great one!
6. When The Fire Burns Out
The sixth song is driven by three voices, Laurenne, Jreissati and Gimenez. The song is rather symphonic and orchestral and is a nice dramatic element. You feel the people fearing the Heart Healer. In later parts, the track becomes more dramatic.
7. Evil’s Around The Corner
How many warnings do you need
Can’t you hear me
Your heart begin to bleed
Can’t you see me
This is not the way you wanna go
Because evil’s around the corner
Louhimo is warning the Heart Healer that people want to get rid of her. One of my favorite songs of the album. Apart from the dramatic orchestral intro, it feels like a powerful metal track and could easily be on an Avantasia album as well. Still, Karlsson does a great job in showcasing the different feelings – fear, desperation, but also determination – with music elements. Great one.
The metal opera continues with two solo tracks. The first one is Olzon’s Mesmerized. She is expressing the fear of the people. The chorus is surprisingly melodic.
But all is a lie
Never believe in her words
We all will fall into her dark
It is only a spell
She will make you blind
We will drown in a sea of pain
The guitars tucker like at an old tractor, Anders Köllerfors is supporting this threatening sound on the drums.
On the other hand, there is the Heart Healer – and Adrienne Cowan more and more recognizes that using her power makes her Weaker.
Every time I save a soul
I’m getting weaker and weaker
I’m all on my own
Every time I touch a heart
I’m getting colder and colder
Everything is gone
Who’s gonna rescue me
Who’s gonna set me free
Will anyone hear my prayer
This song, introduced by flute and string sounds, is likely the emotional climax of the whole storybook. If you haven’t fallen in love with Adrienne Cowan’s vocals already, this power ballad has a lot potential to be the game changer. Amazing performance.
10. This Is Not The End
All characters gather in this grand finale, which is just an masterpiece of metal theatre, which plays with a wide range of moods and feelings. It all condenses in the chorus, which is powerful, but also a bit of soppy:
I will show you all
You ain’t seen nothing yet
I am still, I am still alive
This is not the end
So, there may a Heart Healer II one day – would also be a waste of commercial effort if they would really have killed Cowan at the end of the storybook.
Heart Healer – Spotify
Here is Heart Healer on Spotify
Heart Healer – My View
I am always amazed of all the energy and detailed work necessary to put up albums like the Heart Healer. Magnus Karlsson did a really great job at his metal opera project. The melodic line is great and supports the story in a perfect way. The cast is full of talent – and the ladies interact in a wonderful way. The story is a fantasy one – and it is just sufficient to be put into ten tracks. If you like rock or metal, you have to give Magnus and his raging ladies a credit and listen to them. But be aware: I am deeply in love with Adrienne Cowan’s vocals already… Listening to her might be toxic 😉
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