Lars Eric Mattsson
Astral Groove

Label: Lion Music
Three similar bands: Vision/Condition Red/Book of Reflections

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Heart of stone
2. If I could Fly
3. Can't Find a Way
4. Burning Desire
5. King of Lost Dreams
6. Until We Meet
7. No Way to Misunderstand
8. Snowblind
9. Not Foolin' Me
10. World is Burning
11. Slave to the Moon
12. Lonely Child
13. President
14, How Does it Feel?
15. Merry-Go-Round
16. Tango In Sane

Lars Eric Mattsson - Guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion
Bjorn Lodin - Vocals
Thomas Tornefjell - Drums, percussion
Micke Ahlskog - Bass
Randolph Reymers - Backing vocals

Eternity (1988)
No Surrender (1989)
Electric Voodoo (The Exciter) (1990)
Astral Groove (1995)
Obsession (1998)
Another Dimension (2000)
Power Games (2003)
War (2005)
Earthbound (2005)
Dream Child (2008)
Tango (2010)
Aurora Borealis (2011)
Epicentre (2013)
Hot and Able (1983-85) (2014)
Let Me Rock You (1984-87) (2014)
Songs from a Different Room (2015)
Sand and Blood (2017)
Into the Unknown (2019)


Production, Mixing and Mastering by Lars Eric Mattsson
All music and lyrics written by Lars Eric Mattsson
Composed and Recorded 1994 with additional recordings 2014
Remixed at the New Lion’s Cage in 2019

Released 2020-01-09
Reviewed 2020-01-22

lion music

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It has been 25 years since the album Astral Groove was first released and that is worth celebrating with an anniversary release of that album, remastered and with new artwork. I think important releases are worth celebrating like that, just recently I saw Dream Theater do their whole Scenes From a Memory live to celebrate that it is twenty years old and that was quite a magical thing, this release isn’t quite up to that standard but how many are? I am not the connoisseur of Lars Eric Mattssons album so I cannot say whether or not this is a significant release in his catalogue, but I have listened to it nonetheless.

Musically it is bluesy hardrock, somewhat progressive and very guitar driven but not in the annoying Yngwie Malmsteen style but rather as an enhancement to give more depth to the songs that are quite easy to take to. Björn Lodin sings well and the guitar playing is really nice with a guitar sound that is very appealing. The album is quite long but with decent variation, though it could have been shorter. The real problem is that time hasn’t been a great friend to this album so it sounds a little bit old, dated you could say, not as badly as albums like Long Live Rock’n’Roll where the greatness is killed by poor sound by today’s standards.

So, I think my definition and the definition of whoever wrote the press text differ significantly considering what is a timeless classic. My definition of a timeless classic is an album that is of considerable influence like Number of the Beast, Led Zeppelin’s early albums, The Wall and stuff like that; or albums that doesn’t really age like previously mentioned Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater or Ayreon’s Into the Electric Castle, both with twenty years since release and still sounding fresh. This album doesn’t quite fulfil that criteria and personally I am not sure any album released the same year is that impressive though Nervermore debuted and so did Opeth, Gamma Ray released Land of the Free which I like and At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul is highly regarded by the genre fans. Any of those feels more worthy of seeing an anniversary release than this one but it may be that this is an important note in Mattsson’s career so he might have reason to celebrate it with his fans.

This album I like but would I recommend it? Not really, it is good but it is not that good and it sounds a little bit too dated to really work as a fresh release. I doubt that you will dislike an album like this with good songs and Mattsson’s great guitars, but the songs are not exciting enough, and it feels too dated to be considered a timeless classic.