Lion Music
Release date: August 24, 2004

Guitars: A-
Bass: B+
Percussion: B+
Recording Quality: B+
Originality: B+
Overall Rating: B+

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The adage stating “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover” has never been truer than with this Carlsson CD. Here you have one of the most bland, colorless, uneventful album covers in the history of album covers … could indeed cause anyone to make the hasty initial impression that the instrumental music contained within likely suffers from similar anemia. Instead, cracking open this ugly Phraseology oyster is well worth violating your initial better judgment, because in doing so, listeners will indeed stumble upon a shiny musical pearl!

Hailing from Sweden, Carlsson has written a multi-dimensional, guitar-driven instrumental CD in Phraseology. There’s plenty of Metal here, but there’s also several tracks with Funky grooves, others exuding happiness and humor, and even a tinge or 2 of the Blues, Shit-Kickin’ Country, and Classical music styles. All of this musical eclecticism is driven by power-guitar play that has been purposefully mixed way at the forefront of each song, and smacks you right between the eyes with its energy and precision.

Carlsson, essentially a studio musician who has participated in a short dozen or so of different projects, lists Steve Vai as one of his primary influences. Sure, there’s plenty of Vai in Phraseology, but there’s also some Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and Malmsteen tendencies demonstrated too. Carlsson, showing that he doesn’t take himself or his passions too seriously, also adds comedic voices every now and then to ensure the musical experience remains fun for the listener … and it works … there’s no doubt this album was intended to come across with an overall jovial temperament, especially with song titles such as “Mosquito,” “High Pitch,” and “Cartoon Hippie.”

Along with Carlsson’s guitar methods, the percussion work is also quite interesting. The likes of Satriani and Malmsteen have notoriously subdued the drum work in their albums in order to not drown out their guitar playing. Carlsson takes a different approach … more specifically, the drums sound like whomever is playing them is literally bludgeoning them as viciously as possible, delivering a truly severe beating to the drum kit throughout the lion’s share of this 15-set track listing. It’s certainly a nice change of pace to hear such percussion power and emphasis in a guitar-dominated instrumental CD.

Carlsson’s songs do a good job too of assimilating the feel of the track titles, and his guitar work sells all of his concepts. The CD is not without blemish, though. After starting out with 4 superb tracks, the 5th track, “Aeryn Sun” slows down the pace and gets a bit boring as Carlsson decides to hold extended notes a bit too often. Also, track 6, “Epsilon Indi,” is a Funky song, but has a drumbeat that doesn’t really follow the guitar line well. Carlsson regains his stride with track 7, “High Pitch” (thankfully), and never loses it again whilst bravely delving into various permutations of Metal/Miscellaneous Musical Genres.

Overall, Carlsson is at his best when he’s playing fast-paced, straightforward Metal instrumentals. His variations, though, keep this CD fresh and add layers of innovativeness that essentially work no matter what the musical flavor of the moment may be. Carlsson’s CD should appeal to a vast cross-section of Metalheadz, and can fulfill a number of purposes for an individual listener … obviously, like most instrumentals, Phraseology can justly serve as a one-on-one musical experience, but the light nature of many songs and stylistic variations make this a multi-functional CD – it can fire you up, get you in the mood for a night of boozing on the town, or serve as curious background music for virtually any upbeat social event. A definite keeper …


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.