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Released: 2002, Lion Music
Lars Eric Mattsson is no stranger to Metal-Rules.com I have previously reviewed both his solo work and his band Vision. Also not a stranger to the readers of Metal-Rules.com is Lance King. Lance is the vocalist for Balance of Power, Empire and Defyance and the man behind Nightmare Records. King is a busy guy. This is the second release with him at the mic that I have reviewed this month. Check out the new Defyance review that will be online with this one. I was pretty excited when I heard that these guys had teamed up for the creation of the newest Mattsson disc. Mattsson’s last disc ANOTHER DIMENSION featured Bjorn Lodin on vocals. Lodin is quite different than King as Lodin is more rough and bluesy than King and I thought his addition would change the whole sound of Mattsson. I was right.
Mattsson’s prog metal is enhanced by the strong vocals of King. Not to be outdone Mattsson has written some outstanding songs that are destined to make POWER GAMES a more successful release than his former most successful title ANOTHER DIMENSION. “Open the Gate” kicks off the CD with a keyboard heavy track that contains all the elements that can be found on the POWER GAMES: great shredding guitar playing from Mattsson, strong vocals from King along with tasteful keys from Mattsson himself. In fact Mattson plays guitar, bass and keys on this CD and gives up only the drum stool to Eddie Sledgehammer. “Victim of Freedom” is a straight ahead metal track with lots of double bass from Sledgehammer and lots of opportunity for Mattsson to show why Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records “discovered” Lars way back in 85. The most ambitious piece on the disc is the 17 minute “Beyond the Horizon – Guitar Concerto no 1”. Basically the title tells it all. This is Mattsson and his guitar just wailing away. Very cool track. Finally, no Mattsson CD would be complete without a ballad. “Chained to My Pain” fits the bill on POWER GAMES with its tale of loneliness and pain.
The cover art is the best that Mattsson has ever had. Done by Mattias Noren, it depicts a child being manipulated by a large hand, setting him on his path. Food for thought for sure and a great tie in with the album title. POWER GAMES is definitely one of the highlights of Mattsson’s career. The sound that he was striving for with ANOTHER DIMESION seems to have come to fruition on POWER GAMES.
01.Open the Gate
02. Victim of Freedom
03. Blind Faith
04. Chained to My Pain
05. Bridge to the Past
06. Safely Through the Fight
07. Beyond the Horizon - Guitar Concerto no I
08. Lead Me On My Way
Lars Eric Mattsson - Guitars, bass, keyboards
Lance King - Vocals
Eddie Sledgehammer - drums
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