This man is kind of a busy bee, he released numerous albums. Some of them are released under his full name Lars Eric Mattsson, they are the instrumental albums. He did some more progressive albums with a lot of guest musicians, the Condition Red and the Book of Reflections, melodic rock albums under the name Vision and his melodic progressive/neo classical band Mattsson.
All of those albums have a steady high standard and I have to say this new album Tango is no exception. In addition to the previous album, Lars Eric added a new vocalist to his list of participating musicians. The new vocalist is Markku Kuikka and he accompanies Adrienn Antal in several songs and does some songs as solo vocalist. Lars Eric plays all the instruments; only the drums are taken care of by the man who plays on most of his albums, Eddie Sledgehammer.
As I said the album is a combination of melodic progressive rock, neo classical guitars and big vocals.
On the opening track Never Stand Down we have some great sensitive vocals, the comparison to Lana Lane would be too easy. She has a similar voice and lots of power, while the next minute she can be as sensitive as can be. The song is very diverse, reggae rhythm, double bass drums, wilding guitar solos, a very progressive, cool song.
After this start Believe opens with a heavy riff and has a nice keyboard layer underneath and in the second part, Markku gives us his first performance of the album, which gives the song some extra depth.
The title track Tango, is a very nice relaxed song with a classical opening, which shows the craftsmanship of the band.
Acoustic guitars open The Grand Escape and continue as an electric sitar melody, which is a great foundation for this mini-opera kind of song. The middle section is bit weird, but fits nicely into the song.
I’ll Find Another Way is more the ballad of the album, sung in a great way, nice and easy.
Following Shadows is an up-tempo, even power metal song, very energetic. It has some great drumming and a Jens Johansson like keyboard solo.
The Scream Of My Soul is another nice relaxed song with some great vocals in the Lana Lane style, in these slower songs, the majestic guitar handling, including tremolo disabuse, is a pleasure to listen to.
To me The Fire Is Burning is a bit of a strange song for the album, Vocals drenched in special effects, not my cup of tea, but perhaps this one grows on you when you listen more often to the song.
The next Chain Me makes it all up, fretless bass, relaxed, making my head clean again.
Like he has on most of his albums, here is the instrumental, Tour De Force, Heavy riffing, great mood and speed changes, some acoustics and a great ending.
Finally Slave To The Road ends this album, wah wah guitar intro, and a jazzy, bluesy feel. A nice song to end a nice album.
Overall, a great album, although, if Lars Eric’s vocal parts would have been sung by Markku, I think it would have been even better. What about a complete album in the style of the closing song, with Markku’s vocals,……would be great I think.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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