MATTSSON – Dream Child

MATTSSON - Dream Child
  • 7/10
    MATTSSON - Dream Child - 7/10


Lion Music
Release date: March 21, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

For connoisseurs of Melodic Metal the name Mattsson will make them drool like Pavlov’s dog. The Swedish guitar player is around for over twenty years and has released numerous albums with several bands and projects, of which none can be called bad (see: Book Of Reflections). Especially the last album under the Mattsson banner, War was a good and ambitions project topping of a series of good genre releases. So we all may rightfully expect no less than that, but actually may hope for the one career highlight that the guitar player has not delivered so far. While everything was good, nothing was outstanding.

But Mattsson would not be Mattsson if he would not change the recipe again a bit as he did several times before along his musical path. In this case, the journey takes him to more bombastic shores, and the main use of the female voice of Adrienn Antal with dabs of Björn Lodin’s voice for contrast could put the album into the Symphonic Goth corner easily. But that would be undeserving, as the Swede’s musical roots rising from Eighties’ U.S. Metal cannot be denied, even if less accentuated than before. Adrienn Antal still deserves a special mention as she is the biggest difference between the former works and this album. Her voice is nice and good, although sometimes her performance sounds distanced, technical, with skill but lacking a certain feeling. Just like a professional musician treating the album like the studio project that it is and ending up having done a good job, but failing to be outstanding.

The album seems like a concept work although the tracks are merely slightly related to another, if at all. A theme used in the excellent opening song “I’m Coming Home” appears again in song five, “This Is Our Time” and the continuous use of the word ‘dream’ in song titles suggest a certain connection, which would be supported by the feel and flow of the album as all compositions seem to be of one spirit. Surprisingly, considering that it took Lars Eric Mattsson over a year to write the album.

This monolithic impression is unfortunately also a point of criticism. The production of the album is good, up to the point of perfection. Orchestral elements and bombastic keyboards take away the air to breathe for the guitar, which makes a few compositions like “Killing Everything” and “Moonlight Dream” too mellow for many MER reader’s taste. A guitar sound with more punch would add a lot of character to Dream Child, the way it is now it has a tendency to drag on a bit and tire out the listener. If you listen to any song randomly picked from the album, it will all be very good. Maybe with the exception of “Until Our Last Goodbye” which uses a three quarter time commonly associated with a waltz and which does sound extremely weird, unfortunately not in the good sense.

But apart from that, there is no doubt that Mattsson managed to take his songwriting to a new level. The production just makes it less audible than would have been preferred, so hopefully he will return to a rawer approach next time.

In the meantime, Mattsson fans and Melodic Metal, Rock and Symphonic Rock fans alike should give this album a chance. It is again a small step up from War, but it also fails again when it comes to the question if Mattsson created his defining release yet. Whatever comes next, one can predict that the guitar virtuoso has not reached the limit of his abilities, so we should enjoy Dream Child in suspenseful anticipation of the next work. Hopefully it will not take too long!


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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