Artist: Lars Eric Mattsson
Title: Into the Unknown
Genre: Classic - Prog Hard Rock
Label: Lion Music
Release Date: May 9, 2019
02. Give it All
03. Hole in My Soul
04. Epilogue for a Broken Heart
05. This is Your Storm
06. Save Me
07. Time to Change
08. Into the Unknown
09. Wind of Desire
10. Too Close to the Sun
11. Burning Hot
12. Soul Mate
13. Cry of a Leo
14. Always Recall
15. '57 Chevy
Lars Eric Mattsson - vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards.
Christer Jansson - drums
Alexander King – piano and keyboard solos
Lars Eric Mattsson, guitarist, composer and producer returns with the
new solo album "Into the Unknown" whose release is scheduled for May 9
(via Lion Music).
The new album following ”Sand and Blood" released on 2017 and the non-album single "Vicky's Eyes" released the past year.
Fifteen amazing pieces that show the virtuosity and skill of this
phenomenal guitar hero and, with a long career behind him also studded
with great collaborations as Mark Boals and many more, "Into the
Unknown" could only be exceptional.
Already with the opening track "Killer", we can listen to the excellent
skill of Lars that between riffs and solo gives us a melodic song and
at the same time aggressive thanks to a sustained rimica and a
beautiful bass line. With this opener we can enjoy the magic that Lars
can create with his guitar.
Literally surprising "Give it All", great guitar sounds that weave a
brilliant musical carpet in which Mr. Mattsson moves lightly managing
to transport the sculptor to new horizons. Between a sound power and a
lot of melody, "Give it All" has an incredible groove. They are songs
like this that I like to listen to, not only technical virtuosity but
also a unique sound, capable of dragging
“Hole in My Soul” is a quieter piece that instills a sense of peace,
magically succeeding in leveraging the soul by being able to touch
different emotions. A really delicate and refined piece in which the
guitar phrasings appear as embroideries in the ether, really beautiful.
“Epilogue for a Broken Heart” is such a nice as such short episode, almost as if it wanted a continuation of the previous track.
“This is Your Storm” is pleasant piece that touches prog sounds and in
which you denotes a familiarity with this sound, even in this song the
guitar is a master.
Stunning the following "Save Me" that manages to balance a 'harmony
here sophisticated, remarkable teamwork between guitar and bass and it
is the latter that manages to infuse even more notes oriented towards a
With "Time to Change" Lars gives us a very short song that, even if short, can be an interesting experience to listen to.
The title track "Into the Unknown", is how I expected a journey to
infinity. Musically speaking, the sounds resonate ethereally in a
delicate prog rock leaving a distinctive mark in this track. Another
piece of a particular refinement and care that between the sound waves
can create a synergy between the listener and the music. Definitely a
highlight of this album.
"Wind of Desire" is lightly distanced from the prevous track,
maintaining the delicate balance created by the previous "Into the
Unknown", another brilliant track in which Lars gives us gems with his
own riffs and solos.
Prog style again for "Too Close to the Sun", and again a short track.
With "Burning Hot" I have to take off my hat and congratulate Mr.
Mattsson for the beautiful pearl he managed to create, between a
classic rock contaminated by prog and soul, infused with an enchanted
groove. Great guitarist who manages not to be taken by technicality but
by his own soul, composing songs that can involve emotionally.
"Soul Mate" comes close to being a ballad, soft and delicate song, while the next "Cry of a Leo" is basically a guitar solo.
“Always Recall” is a hard rock piece with prog references in which the
guitar twirls again giving feelings “ The closing of this album, which
unfortunately ends with "'57 Chevy", is rather nostalgic. As the title
suggests, the rich music is those the fifties. Unfortunately, this song
is so short that on the most beautiful, while you imagine on board a
Chevrolet with the notes carried by the wind, ends.
“Into the Unknown” it's a fascinating album, one of those records I
wish would never end, a musically perfect work. Remarkable the bass in
all the tracks, an excellent drums constantly ready to support each
track and the voice of Lars Eric Mattsson that manages to stay clear
for the whole album.
Definitely a record that will be loved by both guitarists and those who love a mainly melodic rock.
Thanks Lars for your masterpieces.
Mattsson: Hot and Able (1983-85) and Let Me Rock You (1984-87)
Classic Hard Rock
by Johnny Childs
Prog Rock Magazine
The never resting
Lars Eric Mattsson who is celebrating 25 years since his two
first albums "Eternity" and "No Surrender" were released in
Japan (Eternity was released one year earlier in Europe) has dug
deep into his huge treasure chest of unreleased goodies and come
up with two (!) 16 track albums of his early stuff which he told
me he has polished quite a bit.
These songs dating back to his first bands "Joe Cool" (1983-85)
and "Eternity" (1986-87) are surprisingly good amd do not sound
dated in any way. Stylewize you get everything from the expected
melodic neoclassical to classic hard rock in the vein of
Whitesnake, Triumph and early Scorpions. You can tell that there
was a noteable change in style somewhere in the middle of this
era as the latter album seems to include some more complex song
stuctures. Lars playing is killing as always and his vocals are
really good most of the time. Some killer Hammond B3 work from
Alexander King (Condition Red) gives these songs the right
attitude and there is even a bass solo in one of the songs.
It really seems very hard to belive that there are some 24 years
between these recordings and Lars latest opus "Epicentre" which
is a totally mindblowing experience if you ask me.
Stadout songs for me thsi time are:"Crusaders", "Stranger in You
Own Land", Lay Down Your Sword", Left Out in the Cold", "Takes
One Fool" "Take Me Home", "The Final Poem"... and then there is
"I Love to Rock" which obviously seems to be something of a joke
coming from Lars!
Lars Eric Mattsson: Epicentre
Melodic Progressive Rock
by Craig Hartranft
After several decades in the music business and 22 recordings,
composer, guitarist, producer, and Lion Music owner Lars Eric
Mattsson isn't slowing down. Epicentre is his 23rd album, and
the creative Mattsson has more than a few tricks up his
progressive rock sleeve.
Not the least of which is taking to the microphone himself to
sing on all of the 15 vocal tracks on this 18 track album. He
give this a go only a few times in the past. Mattsson admits
that he only found his 'voice' half way through the recording
process, and then started over. His 'voice' is melodic, but
definitely a little gruff and gritty. He's definitely a better
composer and musician than a singer.
Another notable aspect, a difference if you will, of Epicentre
is that the songs are shorter than usual, say, versus 2010's
wonderful Tango. Mattsson says this was intentional. Most songs
clock in around three to four minutes.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the album is Mattsson's
diverse and eclectic song creation. But that's hardly news. His
energy and creativity is boundless, making him a musical wizard.
You can read about the songs in Mattsson's track-by-track
description (PDF). Suffice to say that this is some exquisite
melodic progressive rock that expresses Mattsson sharp song
composition and skillful musicianship. (He plays everything
except the drums.) You can listen to samples from the album
But here's a few highlights. For some crafty pure prog Wait for
the Sunrise and Freedom Fighters (one of three instrumentals)
are choice numbers, the latter with some of Mattsson's most
fiery fret work. Within A New Devil, he blends electric and
acoustic guitar with some dobro for an appealing musical
cocktail. There's definitely blues/jazz shuffle to Too Late, and
some real electric blues with Scratch My Back. Another
instrumental, South of the Border is an odd bird as it sounds
like one long withering guitar solo. It's not the most pleasing
track here, but in lesser hands, it probably would have been
Some final comments. A curious thing you'll notice is that there
is no pause, or brief silent segue, between most songs. Mattsson
plays, stops, and then jumps right in again. The number and
length of the album, 18 songs at nearly 70 minutes, makes for a
rather large consumption in one listen. But Mattsson notes that
this was intentional as all the songs point to where he is in
his musical journey. Epicentre is another accomplished and
creative recording from a quite talented musician. Easily
Artist: Lars Eric Mattsson
Label: Lion Music
Bruce E.J. Atkinson
'Epicentre' is simply a stand-out collection from a musical
One should not enter into the "Epicentre" lightly! From the
outset, it is more than evident that Lars Eric Mattsson has
delivered his Masterstroke.
Marking his twenty-third release, 'Epicentre' is a musical
expression that touches upon greatness! There is an expansive
musical spectrum that is contained in the eighteen tracks here
with intricate guitar workings that envelope us, creating a
distinct moodiness. Lars has also treaded on new ground. With
the exception of drums, this album has been written, arranged,
performed, and produced by Lars himself! The man has even
provided the vocals!! First time singing; Lars' voice is
emotional and delivers each song like it is his last. His is a
textured, whiskey soaked delivery, hovering around the middle
ranges. A perfect companion to his emotionally driven guitar
Christer Jansson keeps 'Epicentre' grounded with his driving
percussion, allowing Lars to work us through his melodic, but
complicated excursions. A complete Work, 'Epicentre' is one of
compassion. Each composition is one that has been written and
created with conviction, and is not self indulgent.
Considered to be one of the best guitarists in the world, Mr.
Mattsson is also a master of classically tinged modern rock
forms. A multi-instrumentalist; Lars continues to amaze with his
performances on keyboards and bass! There is so much on 'Epicentre'
– a truly remarkable Work – with all of Lars' trademark
signatures and then some! The musical currents run deep and true!
Although I would not approach this Work with a list of "stand-out"
tracks, there are some musical passages that weigh in more than
others. 'Cinnamon' is one such passage. Apparently one of the
first songs Lars recorded, this is an example of what makes "Epicentre"
such a personalalbum. Listen for the change in his voice on this
one! As mentioned, the whole album flows so effortlessly, and
credit has to be given as to where the instrumentals are placed.
'South Of The Border' and 'Andalucia' could really have not been
placed anywhere else! Again, just evidence of the genius of this
Artist. Carrying on with the emotional side of Lars' new found
voice, pieces such as 'I Don't Know' and 'Cold Inside' are great
examples of this, blending his music and voice splendidly! You
see, Lars is still not comfortable with his vocal powers,
however he doesn't need to worry...as each and every vocal he
gives us is just right! Another accolade for this very sensitive
Artist! Pushing through this new plateau, Lars has, indeed,
found his voice, and one this scribe humbly suggests that you
'Epicentre' is simply a stand-out collection from a musical
Artist: Lars Eric
Label: Lion Music
Review by Time Signature
Guitar virtuoso and owner of Lion Music, Lars Eric Mattsson, has
a shitload of albums under his belt – both as a solo artist and
as a member of acts like Book of Reflections, Vision, and
Condition Red. While there is no doubt that he is incredibly
gifted and that, though Lion Music, he has made a tremendous
effort in keeping progressive metal, neoclassical metal, hard
rock, and melodic metal alive, I think that the quality of his
output is varied. In 2011, he released the instrumental album
”Aurora Borealis” which I found underwhelming, while his
1998-album ”Obsession” (reissued last year) is absolutely
This year, he released ”Epicentre”. While following the
neoclassiclly oriented ”Aurora Borealis”, ”Epicentre” does not
follow up on ”Aurora Borealis”. While the preceding album was
quite onesided, this one is multifacetted, as Mattsson explores
a range of expressions and vistas. Thus, we are treated to
tracks, like 'Cinnamon' or the swinging 'Too Late', while others,
like 'No Way, No Surrender' and 'Wait for the Sunrise' as well
as the heavy 'Freedom Fighters' and 'No More War' are all out
prog metal attacks in the form of complexly structured flurries
of passages and sections. Also in the progressive metal
department, 'Land of Dreams' and 'Mirror' both explore eastern
music, the latter also being nicely funky. There is enough
variation on the album that the 18 tracks never get tiresome to
Also, while Mattsson is obviously a guitar shredder – and there
are loads of guitar acrobatics of all sorts on the album – we
are not dealing with a purely instrumental album. In fact most
of the tracks feature vocals delivered by Mattsson himselft. His
husky singing style may not please everybody, but it does its
job. Needless to say there is nothing wrong with the
musicianship and, all the more impressively, Mattsson plays all
instruments with the exception of the drums (which, sadly,
suffer a bit from the production – I think that the drums could
have been more prominent in the mix and that they could have had
a more organic sound).
Anyway, like ”Obsession”, ”Epicentre” captures Mattsson at his
best and shows that there is more to his creativity than just
neoclassical shredding. In other words, we are dealing with a
fine progressive metal album which is enjoyable almost all the
(review originally posted at
Mattsson, Lars Eric: Obsession
Originally recorded in 1998 and now remastered and
re-released , Lars Eric Mattsson's Obsession is a hell of an
album. And I'm not saying this just because it has already
been praised in dozens of glorious reviews. No, I'm saying
this because I feel that Obsession is so much more than what
we call a fine studio effort these days. This is an album
that repeatedly kicks you right in the ass as if to say: "So
you thought you know what to expect from a guitar-driven
hard rock album just because you listened to Yngwie
Malmsteen's full discography? Then take this, man! And
I'll be honest with you –
after I first listened to Obsession I was literally drained.
But at the same time I was looking forward to listening to
it once again. And again. This damn thing just takes it out
of you – and then makes you beg for more. Take the crazy
opener "Caught In Your Web" which hits you hard with
Mattsson's voracious guitar riffs and Bjorn Lodin's wild and
rugged yet strangely beautiful vocals. And if you think the
second track, "Alive", will be any gentler, you have no
choice but to think again, sorry, as it is another
out-and-out scorcher that keeps you on the edge of the seat
till the very end. "Just A Leo", track #3, takes you by
surprise with its risqué, cheap sounding intro but after
awhile it becomes an entirely satisfying fiery number with a
catchy chorus – only to happily go back to the initial
cornucopia of kitsch a moment later. What a ride! But hey –
didn't I warn you that Obsession isn't exactly a drab,
I guess I need not remind you
that the aforementioned three tracks are just the beginning
of it all, either. The first moment when we are finally
allowed to breathe out is "Messenger" which is another
brilliant track, one that – due to some atmospheric guitar
playing – makes you feel like you're walking through endless
desert sands; and beware: the moment you start thinking you
can relax for good, the guitar immediately attacks you with
its sting as if it were earth's deadliest scorpion! Some
more traditional hard rock songs in the vein of classic
Rainbow or Deep Purple are "Long Way Home", "Eyes of a
Child" as well as the final track, "And the Road Goes On",
but Mattsson always peppers them with enough signature
maddened guitar work to make them entirely his own. And
Lodin amazes throughout, too, but perhaps nowhere more so
than in the magnificent, semi-balladic "Sense and Obsession"
in which his voice oozes both passion and weariness.
Clearly then, this isn't an
album to listen to in the background while sipping wine with
the love of your life. Trust me, you'd start headbanging or
playing the air guitar within the first few minutes and your
relationship would be over just like that. Obsession simply
screams for your full attention and anytime you try to turn
your back on it, it does its best to seduce you again, much
like a jealous woman would. And, only appropriately, the
tricks it's playing to achieve its aim ain't always subtle.
So make sure you can divide your free time evenly between
the love life and Obsession-listening time and then go get
the album. Hell, even if you can't – GET IT! Who needs love
life if you have Obsession?
Lars Eric Mattsson – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards & Backing
Bjorn Lodin – Lead Vocals.
Christer Jansson – Drums.
01. Caught in Your Web
03. Just a Leo
05. Long Way Home
06. Time and Again
07. Sense and Obsession
08. Mother Forgive
09. As the Sun Meets the Sky
10. Eyes of a Child
11. Lay It on the Line
12. And the Road Goes On
Added: April 8th 2012
Highlights of the
latest reviews in so far...
Tango is magnificent career defining moment for this
excellent composer, and an amazing listen. With the depth of
composition, it will take you more than a few listens to digest,
but it's worth every minute. Highly recommended.
If you enjoy
guitar-oriented progressive metal with equally captivating male/
female vocal work, “Tango” should contain enough of the normal
requisite goods to make this worth your money and time
Overall Mattsson always serves
up a veritable smorgasbord of material on each album, yet with
‘Tango’ the overall quality is high throughout and is a
highly recommended starting place for anyone yet to hear
Mattsson distinctive trademark sound.
Mattsson has long been a reliable source of fine
progressive metal music and on this latest album its about time
he became much more widely known.