Mattsson - Power Games
Lion Music
Progressive Rock
8 songs (57:51)
Release year: 2003
Mattsson, Lion Music
Reviewed by Jay

Lars Eric Mattsson has been the guitarist for such bands as Vision, Condition Red and Astral Groove. He also has several solo albums out. Despite this, I had never heard of him until this album came out. “Power Games” is a good prog album and should probably get Mr. Mattsson some more attention. Handling vocal duties on this album is Lance King of Balance of Power and Empire fame. Mattsson is a talented guitarist and composer and this album reflects that.

Kicking off with “Open the Gate,” a melodic masterpiece that has a good keyboard solo near the opening. There is Deep Purple and Dream Theater influence, for sure, but Mattsson can hold his own. Lance King does a wonderful job behind the mic and his vocals are almost tailored for this style of music. Mattsson is a very technical player but he knows how not to let a solo or instrumental ruin a song. “Victim of Freedom” is prog but you would not know it from the upbeat tempo and traditional verse chorus verse structure. The progressive elements never overshadow the fact that songs should be listenable. With minor exceptions, there are very few elements of excessive guitar, bass or keyboard noodling that are found on many progressive albums. “Bridge to the Past” sounds like something a stoner rock band like Fu Manchu would put out. Yet, once the song kicks into gear, the vocals and solo really kill. “Blind Faith” is one of the catchiest songs that I have heard in a long time and the chorus did stick with me for a long time. The major focus of this album however is “Beyond the Horizon – Guitar Concerto No. 1,” an epic 17 minute masterwork. Going through several movements, Mattsson has a composed an intricate mecca of a song. The guitar work here shows off his talent and the excess soloing is welcomed. Some parts sound like Pink Floyd, some parts sound like a movie score, and some parts sound like Luca Turilli’s last album. It is a multifaceted track that shows what progressive music is all about. As a funny diversion, to prove that he does not take himself too seriously, Mattsson includes “Lead Me on My Way,” a progressive disco (that’s right, disco) song. Complete with wah pedal effects, high hat snaps, and scale climbing bass lines, Mattsson may be committing heresy in the metal world but at least he has a sense of humor, and that is an admirable quality in a virtuoso musician.

If you are a fan of prog, you might want to investigate this album. It was a welcome surprise since many prog albums of late have just consisted of mind numbing guitar doodling for song after song. Mattsson knows how to compose a song to show off his talent while not loosing his listening audience.

Killing Songs :
Beyond the Horizon, Blind Faith, Victim of Freedom
Jay quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Mattsson that we have reviewed:
Mattsson - Another Dimension reviewed by Danny and quoted 75 / 100
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