It has been quite some time since guitar great Lars Eric Mattsson has done instrumental work. To be exact, 14 years. I was thinking about that very notion and was actually surprised. Mattsson is a very busy musician and due to the fact that he gets involved with a wide variety of things, I never realized that it had been that long. Anyway, guess the whole point here is that his latest effort is an instrumental release titled 'Earthbound'. There really is quite a few things going on with this album showing the versatility of Lars. For instance, the opening track is a bnnit of a shredder titled 'From the Skies' while the title track is more of a groove rocker. You get a different vibe from it for sure. You may be surprised to know that Mattsson wanted to keep it simple. He has done alot in the past few years and most of it in a much bigger way. Apparently he brought in a drummer for this release and away he went. For those who are familiar with 'Electric Voodoo' from years back, you will remember his neoclassical approach on that album. This album differs as the songwriting is a bit more basic with a heavy edge to it. It's not a balls out shredder disc either. If you want that particular formula, you'll get it in tracks such as the appropriately titled 'Shredhead'. If you want it a bit more visual or atmospheric, direct your attention to 'Dehli'. There is some cool electric sitar work on this song. I have always had a passion for that instrument mixed into a rock element, and once again it works well. You also get some progressive guitar work as well. Check out the track 'Free Wind' for this type of rock sound. You get those odd tempo guitar rhythms mixed with a good beat. How about a bit of acoustic sound. Dial in 'Song of the Woods. I guess my point has been made with this review. There is enough variety going on here to keep the listen interesting. It's not all about burning up the fretboard. It's about songwriting and Mattsson does that quite well.
Been a long time since we heard from Mattsson in an instrumental fashion. This album has very good variety which provides for a very good flow of music. It keeps you wondering what is coming next. That is really the driving part of this album. The guitar work is disciplined and only shreds when necessary. If you like it instrumental and more song driven that shred driven, this one is definitely worthy of your attention.
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Reviewed by Dave Palmer
'Seven Seals' is the latest from one of Europe's best power metal acts, Primal Fear. After listening to this release I came to one very solid conclusion. This is probably the bands best and most consistent work. I will probably get arguments with this notion due to the amazing debut this band released in the years back. Let me explain where I am coming from. My first point is the power that is on this release. I don't mean power from an aggression standpoint. There are always two types of power, intensity and overall feel. This album's power dabbles in both although I feel the latter is where this album really sets itself apart. For those who have considered Primal Fear as a Judas Priest clone, check this album out, it will probably change your mind. This is the album in my opinion where this band finds it's soul. As you are listening through the album you'll notice how it never loses it's quality. Most albums have high points and low points. You start listening to this album and expect it to eventually fall off. It never really does in my opinion. I believe the track that I found the weakest was 'The Union' which I believe to be a bonus track and it is still pretty decent. This album opens with the tune 'Demons and Angels' which is fairly typical of what we expect from Primal Fear. As the album progresses through tracks such as 'Rollercoaster', the very solid title track 'Seven Seals' and one of my album favorites 'Evil Spell', you get the sense of just how confident this band has become. This is the reason I talk about finding their soul. It doesn't stop there either. 'The Immortal Ones' tends to be heavy yet memorable. 'Diabolus' has a slight epic feel to it and is another of my personal favorites. 'All for One' rocks it out after starting like it may be laid back. 'Carniwar' is a bit short but has thunderous rhythms. Another well written tune is 'Question of Honour' which showcases the bands writing. The vocal driven track of the album in my opinion is 'In Memory'. This tune is probably the most moody sounding track, but has a power all its own. 'The Union' closes it all out in typical Primal Fear flair. Heavy rhythms with a power metal attitude.
This really is one of the bands best if not the best. The band have their own identity with this release and appear to write and play from their soul. It makes for a very good power metal album. This album goes for a deeper more disciplined sound than all out power. This provides very good results. 'Seven Seals' to me is rock solid with no filler. It is without a doubt that it comes highly recommended!