"Power Games" (Lion Music; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Mattsson's brand of music will appeal to two types of music fans: Those that like melodic hard rock and those that like their musicians to have a full cadre of chops and skills. Mattsson's "Power Games" has the punch of melodic hard rock and supreme technical skills in spades.

Eric Lars Mattsson is the mainman of the group that bears his name. On "Power Games" he does it all - except sing and play drums. Mattsson's skills as a guitarist, bassist and keyboardist are given free reign on all the songs and it's nice to hear some long-winded soloing. 

Also, it's easy to be impressed by Mattsson's compositional skills. The song-writing keeps the songs grounded enough without losing the impetus to instrumental flight. Seven of the eight tracks on "Power Games" run between four- and eight-minutes and that's good for variety's sake as Mattsson's compositions almost entirely avoid repetition. "Beyond The Horizon" is the only track that is too unwieldy for its own good (it runs more than 17 minutes), but since it is subtitled as a 'guitar concerto' you get the idea pretty quick that it was supposed to be a little self-indulgent and a showcase for Mattsson's playing abilities.

Vocalist Lance King does a credible job, although I found myself ambivalent about his performance as there are probably many others like him who could have done the job just as well. Drummer Eddie Sledgehammer does anything but sledgehammer his way through the disc - his playing is understated and appropriate throughout.

Finally, Mattsson's brand of melodic hard rock has a dual edge that teeters on the edge of progressive rock and neo-classical fusion without ever delving entirely into those genres. And that's OK. It's enough to keep the songs interesting with just the right mix of feeling laid back and a touch of momentum that all music needs.

"Power Games" is a solid, if not entirely spectacular, release. I, for one, will enjoy listening to it along with a mix of Millennium, Into The Light, Stratovarius, and Freedom Call.

"Power Games" was produced by Lars Eric Mattsson.

Mattson is Lars Eric Mattsson on guitars, bass, and keyboards, Lance King on vocals, and Eddie Sledgehammer on drums.

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"Another Dimension" (Lion Music; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Another Dimension" is one of those records that you can listen to enjoy well enough, but that starts to drag on about half way through and never really recovers completely. I won't go as far as to say the CD is dull, but - with its 14 tracks and over 70 minute running time - it does ultimately wear out its welcome.

Fans of progressive rock will find the most to enjoy here. The guitars of Lars Eric Mattsson are impressive, even if they are a little sterile. The songwriting is just so-so. Not one song really stands out. This may also be due to the one-dimensional vocals of Bjorn Lodin. Lodin sounds a little like Rod Stewart channeling Perry Como. His voice has the ragged quality of Stewart but lacks real energy.

Not a bad CD but not a very riveting one either, "Another Dimension" probably accomplishes what it set out to: showcase the guitar talents of its creator, Lars Eric Mattsson.

Also performing on "Another Dimension" are Eddie Sledgehammer - drums & percussion; Ella Grussner and Cookie Sarling - backing vocals. Guest appearances include Patrick Rondat, Erik Norlander, Rob Johnson, Par Lindh, Esa Pietila.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.