Listening to the three Balance of Power CDs that Lance King sang on (Book of Secrets, Ten More Tales Of … and Perfect Balance), I never noticed just how similar his voice sounds to Dream Theater front man James LaBrie. But listening to Power Games, the most complex release yet from veteran neoclassical guitarist, bassist and keyboard player Lars Eric Mattsson, the comparison begs to be made. Granted, Mattsson's music can be classified as progressive metal a lot easier than Balance of Power's progressive-tinged arena rock can. But Mattsson -- the guy who runs Lion Music, which released Power Games -- knew what he was doing when he signed up King.
Power Games features Mattsson playing everything except drums (deftly handled by Eddie Sledgehammer, which has gotta be a stage name). And while Mattsson has used several vocalists over the years, King is one of the best -- despite the LaBrie analogies. Many of the eight tracks here are slick progressive metal, and while King makes the transition well from Balance of Power to this kind of music, it is Mattsson's 17-minute instrumental epic "Beyond the Horizon - Guitar Concerto No. 1" that will garner the most attention. The sprawling piece is a testament to Mattsson's versatility on many instruments.
King also appeared on Hypnotica, the first album from Empire - a melodic hard rock band released by Lion Music in 2001 and featuring the likes of Don Airey and Rolf Munkes. For some reason, though, King is gone from Empire's lineup on the recently released Trading Souls. Here's hoping Mattsson keeps him around longer than just one album.