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Book Of Reflections
Released: 2012, Lion Music
Book of Reflections is one of Lars Eric Mattsson’s many projects. If you are not familiar with Lars name in particular you mat be familiar with some of the bands he has been in over the years including Condition Red, Eli, Mattsson and of course a large number of solo albums and half a dozen guest appearances over the years. This is the third Book of Reflections album and I can’t say for the life of me why we didn’t review the previous pair.
Unlike like the previous two albums, RELENTLESS FIGHTER is much more straight-ahead Metal than the two previous neo-classical, symphonic Power Metal styled albums. Another marked departure is the line-up. Lars is the primary songwriter and musician but on the other albums there were lots and lots of guest stars. This one there is much more of a cohesive ‘band’ feel with no members left from the prior recording session. Finland’s Markku Kuikka splits the vocal duties evenly with Germany’s Carsten Schultz formerly of Domain and currently with Evidence One.
The songs lend themselves to more of a traditional Metal feel with lyrics that are a little more rooted in reality than some of the other fantasy inspired lyrics of the previous ones. The production is good and everything sounds nice and clear. RELENTLESS FIGHTER has shifted into more of a Melodic Metal framework, which is still very enjoyable. Lars is still one of the better guitar players out there. I don’t like to use the word ‘under-rated because it is such a cliché in a review but in this case the term applies. More people need to hear his work. There is some really nice guitar solo/ harpsichord interplay in the track ‘Rise Up!” The tempo of the album is punchy but not overly blistering. Keyboards swashes add atmospheric touches in and around the songs and both vocalists have a nice Metal range with some power and clarity. I slightly prefer Carsten over Markku, but both are fine. The whole thing reminds me of some of those 90’s Yngwie Malmsteen albums like ECLIPSE and FIRE AND ICE like that were slightly more commercial written but with fantastic playing across the board.
By now you have surmised that this is quite a departure from the last album. I’m not convinced I like the new direction. Although it is a competently written and performed record, I feel it would have been better to maybe start a new band and keep the Book Of Reflections sound intact. As it stands, this is now the black sheep of the family in the band catalogue.
1. Until the Day
2. Dance with the Devil
3. Angel Shed a Tear
4. Bleeding Dry
5. Rise Up!
6. Crashing Through
7. Somewhere Else to Be
8. Gates to Oblivion
9. Keep Us Afloat
10. Without My Angel
Lars Eric Mattsson Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
Markku Kuikka Vocals (2, 4, 6, 10)
Carsten Schulz Vocals (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
Christer Jansson Drums
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