Lars Eric Mattsson
Aurora Borealis
Style: Instrumental Neo-classical Guitar
Release date: 15 April, 2011
Playing time: 56:44

Instrumental guitar albums seem to be experiencing a boom this year. “Aurora Borealis” is the proposition of Lars Eric Mattsson - an album which, musically speaking, follows in the footsteps of Uli Jon Roth. It’s a fusion of orchestral music and contemporary Metal/Blues guitar.

Mattsson – who, besides composing the music and playing the guitars, also produced the album – made a conscious decision not to layer the guitars so that the music could be performed live tale quale. Consequentially, the music may come across as ‘thin’. The focus is on interpretation and therefore to some listeners the guitar will sound pretty much the same throughout the album with hardly any effects to enable many potential nuances of Mattsson’s playing. To brush aside the album on the aforementioned bases, however, would be a gross injustice. While the soundscape of the record is admittedly limited, the talent of Mattsson as both a guitar player and composer should be left in no doubt by the end of this record.

Indeed through compositions such as ‘Starfall’, ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Planetary Strength’, the listener can wallow in the magical vibrato and experience the ethereal catharsis induced by Mattsson’s playing. Incidentally - and I’m only speculating here - but the title ‘Midnight Sun’ sounds like a subtle acknowledgement of Uli Jon Roth’s ‘Electric Sun’ band. Anyway, by themselves the orchestrations of “Aurora Borealis” are excellently scored too.

The musical concept of this album is not without precedent – albums such as Uli Jon Roth’s “Metamorphosis” and Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra” have trodden similar paths before. “Aurora Borealis” stands with dignity next to those albums and for those easily swayed by the Classical dimension of Metal the album is doubtlessly an essential purchase.
01. Rising (5:16)
02. Bounce (4:16)
03. Cold Water Spirit (5:56)
04. Forward Thinking (6:17)
05. Revolutionary Star (4:40)
06. The Heart (3:55)
07. Eternal Cycles (4:19)
08. Clear Skies (4:06)
09. Planetary Strength (3:17)
10. Parisienne Etude (0:55)
11. Midnight Sun (7:43)
12. Starfall (5:26)
Label: Lion Music
Distribution: Border Music Distribution AB
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 15 May, 2011