Lion Music 2013
Up close and personal, Finnish shredder breaks out of solipsism and sings his heart out.
It’s been a long way for Mattsson since 1998’s "Obsession", and this route saw the guitarist gradually tone down pure technicalities in favor of genuine emotions. Looking deeper and deeper into himself, now he doesn’t even need a vocalist to pour it all out on the eighteen tracks which, Lars Eric admits, might be too much but, otherwise, he wouldn’t have felt fulfillingness that is pursued here from the metal angularity of “Wait For The Sunrise” to the romantic “Clouding My Eyes” via the vast variety of harmonic moods. Sometimes, there’s a few of these, like in the raga of “Land Of Dreams” with its electric sitar or “A New Devil” running from acoustic, slider-kissed blues to an electronica-tinctured hard rock and back again.
Elsewhere, “Too Late” shuffles on in pre-war jazzy way, while a couple of instrumental pieces, “South Of The Border” and the new-agey “Andalucia,” demonstrate more stylistic integrity taking off as ballads with a Latino groove, delivered by drummer Christer Jansson, and landing on the rockier ground. Another wordless cut, “Freedom Fighters,” falls into the shallow shredding category, and even the blues figures can’t pull “No More War” out of generic morass, yet it’s compensated with the lyrical musings of “Cold Inside” where Mattsson accentuates his elastic bass skills to up the vibrancy. Wearing one’s beating heart on the sleeve is a bold move, and getting close feels good here.