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Mattsson - Tango

by Amanda Myers at 01 April 2010, 9:04 AM

Truth be told, I’m a huge fan of not only Progressive Metal but of the Scandinavian Metal scene. I discovered Lars Eric Mattsson when he worked with CONDITION RED, a progressive Metal/symphonic outfit that had former DREAM THEATER keyboardist Derek Sherinian as a guest on the track “Final Words”. While I appreciated Mattsson’s skill, I felt that CONDITION RED was a bit too similar to every other symphonic/progressive at the time, talented but generic. Never hearing his earlier solo work, I was hoping that he’d take a cue from Sherinian and do something more diverse.

Finnish guitarist and composer Lars Eric Mattsson has become synonymous with progressive and symphonic music. In addition to an extensive solo career and work with the bands VISION, CONDITION RED, and BOOK OF REFLECTIONS. His label Lion Music has been responsible for many progressive and symphonic artists becoming recognized. Tango is the fifth album under the name Mattsson, and along with longtime collaborator/drummer Eddie Sledgehammer it’s his second with vocalist Adrienn Antal, and first with STATUS MINOR vocalist Markku Kuikka.

With a track record like this, one would expect only the best from Mattsson. His latest release, “Tango”, the audience is given a lot to chew on. The album is full of progressive riffs, with various elements of ethnic music, neo classical and symphonic and even Blues. The album, despite clocking in at 73 minutes, keeps the listener interested and straddles the line between technicality and commercialism flawlessly. For example, a song like the title track could’ve easily become a cheesy pop Metal song if a lesser composer had written it, but Mattsson keeps it flowing and vocalist Adrienn Antal is fully in her element here. She is on target in songs like “Believe” where her voice works with the music instead of taking it over, like many vocalists today do.

Credit must also be given to STATUS MINOR vocalist and label mate Markku Kuikkawhose vocals, especially on the impressive 10 minute 42 second mini concept piece “The Grand Escape”, contrast nicely with Antal’s. Kuikka’s voice might not be the most unique but he more than gets the job done, and is able to handle diversity as displayed in the album’s bluesy closer “Slave To The Road” which could easily be a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune, but these Fins make it their own.

Overall, “Tango” is an album that progressive Metal fans need to hear. Technically spectacular and not held back by any genre restrictions; Finland’s musicians do it again.

4 Star Rating

  1. Never Stand Down
  2. Believe
  3. Tango
  4. The Grand Escape
  5. I’ll Find Another Way
  6. Shadows
  7. The Scream Of My Soul
  8. The Fire Is Burning
  9. Chain Me
  10. Tour De Force
  11. Slave To The Road
Adrienn Antal - Lead & Backing Vocals
Markku Kuikka - Lead & Backing Vocals
Lars Eric Mattsson - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Sitar, Lead & Backing Vocals
Eddie Sledgehammer - Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Lion Music


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Edited 28 May 2023

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