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Mattsson, Lars Eric: Obsession

Originally recorded in 1998 and now remastered and re-released , Lars Eric Mattsson's Obsession is a hell of an album. And I'm not saying this just because it has already been praised in dozens of glorious reviews. No, I'm saying this because I feel that Obsession is so much more than what we call a fine studio effort these days. This is an album that repeatedly kicks you right in the ass as if to say: "So you thought you know what to expect from a guitar-driven hard rock album just because you listened to Yngwie Malmsteen's full discography? Then take this, man! And that!"

I'll be honest with you – after I first listened to Obsession I was literally drained. But at the same time I was looking forward to listening to it once again. And again. This damn thing just takes it out of you – and then makes you beg for more. Take the crazy opener "Caught In Your Web" which hits you hard with Mattsson's voracious guitar riffs and Bjorn Lodin's wild and rugged yet strangely beautiful vocals. And if you think the second track, "Alive", will be any gentler, you have no choice but to think again, sorry, as it is another out-and-out scorcher that keeps you on the edge of the seat till the very end. "Just A Leo", track #3, takes you by surprise with its risquι, cheap sounding intro but after awhile it becomes an entirely satisfying fiery number with a catchy chorus – only to happily go back to the initial cornucopia of kitsch a moment later. What a ride! But hey – didn't I warn you that Obsession isn't exactly a drab, play-it-safe material?

I guess I need not remind you that the aforementioned three tracks are just the beginning of it all, either. The first moment when we are finally allowed to breathe out is "Messenger" which is another brilliant track, one that – due to some atmospheric guitar playing – makes you feel like you're walking through endless desert sands; and beware: the moment you start thinking you can relax for good, the guitar immediately attacks you with its sting as if it were earth's deadliest scorpion! Some more traditional hard rock songs in the vein of classic Rainbow or Deep Purple are "Long Way Home", "Eyes of a Child" as well as the final track, "And the Road Goes On", but Mattsson always peppers them with enough signature maddened guitar work to make them entirely his own. And Lodin amazes throughout, too, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the magnificent, semi-balladic "Sense and Obsession" in which his voice oozes both passion and weariness.

Clearly then, this isn't an album to listen to in the background while sipping wine with the love of your life. Trust me, you'd start headbanging or playing the air guitar within the first few minutes and your relationship would be over just like that. Obsession simply screams for your full attention and anytime you try to turn your back on it, it does its best to seduce you again, much like a jealous woman would. And, only appropriately, the tricks it's playing to achieve its aim ain't always subtle. So make sure you can divide your free time evenly between the love life and Obsession-listening time and then go get the album. Hell, even if you can't – GET IT! Who needs love life if you have Obsession?

Lars Eric Mattsson – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards & Backing Vocals.
Bjorn Lodin – Lead Vocals.
Christer Jansson – Drums.

01. Caught in Your Web
02. Alive
03. Just a Leo
04. Messenger
05. Long Way Home
06. Time and Again
07. Sense and Obsession
08. Mother Forgive
09. As the Sun Meets the Sky
10. Eyes of a Child
11. Lay It on the Line
12. And the Road Goes On

Added: April 8th 2012
Reviewer: Bartek Paszylk
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2140
Language: english

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