Released: 2005, Lion Music
Lars Eric Mattsson, the mastermind behind Mattsson, Astral Groove, Vision, and the record label Lion Music, is back with another disc of progressive metal. This time he has throw in a little twist as this disc is a non-fictional “rock opera” dealing with the state of our planet. This is also not a typical Mattsson record in that besides himself on guitar, bass and keyboards and Eddie Sledgehammer on drums, Mattsson has assembled an all star cast to bring his rock opera to life. Joining him is Mark Boals (Ring of Fire, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Vitalij Kuprij (Artension, Ring of Fire, ex-Yngwie), Irene Jansson (Star One, Ayreon), Lance King (ex-Empire, ex-Balance of Power) and many others.
Irene Janssen is featured on the first song called “Where’s Our Chance”. The track starts with a moment of tribal chanting from “choir” Ella Grussner and Cocki Sarling, but immediately launches into an all out double bass thumping assault. Janssen attacks this song with passion and power which probably comes from the lyrical content of the CD which deals with the state of our planet now. The idea that the people of the world never hear the real reasons behind the conflicts in Iraq and Palestine etc because they are more about money and power than the typical information that is force fed to the people through the media. Mark Boals makes an appearance on “Deep in the Shadows” where is joined by Lars Eric Mattsson’s daughter Mikaela Mattsson on background vocals. Boals is a god among vocalists and he has shown this once again by tackling Mattsson’s unique prog vison. One of the stronger tracks on the CD for sure. The most interesting track on the CD is the 14 minute opus “War Suite Concerto”. As the title implies, it is broken up into 8 sections which run the gamut from serene choir pieces to all out power metal to light instrumental guitar solos. This is a very strange piece and though grand in scale it seems somehow a bit disjointed, as if there is no central theme running throughout the piece.
Mattsson set out to create a work that could be viewed on a grander scale. For the most part he has succeeded. The quality of his musical compatriots cannot be questioned. With the likes of Boals, Janssen, King and Kuprij onboard the result could be nothing less than first class. The political message of the CD is interesting as well. With the state of the world now and the upheavals of war it is interesting to see how many people and artists have strong feelings about the conflicts one way or the other. Lars Eric Mattsson has chosen to use WAR! as a venue to make his feelings known. For that alone this is interesting listen.