is a true veteran of the music business having played in bands and
later as a solo artist since the late 70-ies. Lars first instrument was
the bass, and it was not until he was over 20 years old that he
switched to the guitar. |
Initially influenced by the classic/hard rock of the late 60-ies and
70-ies like Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, Johnny Winter but also Al
DiMeola Lars later became one of the early developers of the
neoclassical metal genre. Lars was discovered by Mike Varney (Guitar
Player Magazine and Shrapnel Records ) in 1985. After playing and
touring with various local hard rock bands Lars recorded and released
the 4 track vinyl EP “Can’t Go On Without Your Love” in 1987. Soon
after this Lars signed to Black Dragon Records, a French indie label
for which he recorded 3 albums Eternity (1988), No Surrender (1989) and
the all instrumental Electric Voodoo (1991). Eternity and No Surrender
were released in Japan by FEMS , while the instrumental Electric Voodoo
was picked up by Leviathan Records in USA and released under the Title
“The Exciter” in 1992, and then in 1995 it was released in Asia by SKC.
In 1992 Lars teamed up with Swedish singer Conny Lind who had been in
Los Angeles working with Alex Masi and together with Drummer Tony
Mattsson and Bass player Michael Ahlskog they formed the band 'Vision'
and recorded 1992's album 'Lars Eric Mattsson’s Vision' which went down
very well specially in Japan where it was once again released by FEMS
and in Europe by Roadrunner. The year after Vision recorded a follow up
album, which was never released due to the label’s coming bankrupcy and
the band eventually split up. Around 1994 when Lars was found playing
in cover bands doing blues classics and Hendrix covers Lars got in
contact with another Swedish singer Björn Lodin, who had released soem
albums with his own band Baltimoore. As the band split up Björn joined
forces with Lars And recorded 1995’s album 'Astral Groove', which was
blues based and quite different from Lars previous releases. However
the band split up too soon and Lars was actually considering quitting
music completely for a while.
In 1996 Lars wanted to give 'Vision' a second chance and recorded the
album 'Till the End of Time' which was his most laid back melodic-
almost AOR - release ever. The album got very good reactions and was a
living proof that melodic hard rock still had an audience. Singer
Randolph Reymers made his debut as lead singer after having sung
backing vocals on several albums before Vision.
As VISION was taking a break from recording Lars went into in studio at
the end of August 1997 with a bunch of new songs which definitely
showed that hard work pays off. This new album was Lars finest hour
thus far in 'Obsession' with his best guitar playing ever as well as
some of his better compositions. Add to that singer Björn Lodin who
never sounded this good before! The reviews of 'Obsession' were
excellent, Progression magazine of USA called the album 1998’s best
Guitar album and it was clear to everyone that Lars had taken a major
step forward, but Lars felt it was just the beginning of a new era.
In the autumn of 1999 Lars begun writing for another album and just to
make things more interesting Lars invited some friends and well known
musicians to guest on the project. These included : Patrick Rondat
(Jean Michel Jarre) Rob Johnson (Magnitude 9), Erik Norlander (Lana
Lane, Rocket Scientists) Pär Lindh (Pär Lindh Project) Esa Pietilä and
more… The new 70+ minute long opus consists of 14 new compositions jam
packed with Intense musical ideas influenced by classical music,
classic hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock/metal with lots of
virtuoso performances from Lars and his guests. Soft melodic ballads
and super tight odd meter riffing – it’s all here!
In the year of 2000 Lars put together a progressive band called
'Condition Red', the debut album features keyboard maestro Derek
Sherinian (ex- Alice Cooper/Dream Theater) and Lars’ friend Alex Masi
(on additional guitars). Lars next project was to record a new Mattsson
album, this time with ex-Balance of Power singer Lance King, and the
result,'Power Games' was released in 2003 and received fantastic
reviews all over the world.
In 2003 Condition Red reformed to record and release their second album
of progressive rock titled “II”, not too long after this Lars band from
the 90-ies made a short comeback in 2004 with a new album “On the
Edge”, however Lars major work in 2004 was the new super group 'Book Of
Reflections' which include singer Andy Engberg (ex-Lion’s Share/Section
A etc…), Vitalij Kuprij etc…but Lars biggest challenge this far was the
progressive metal concept album/metal opera 'War' which was released in
2005 and which features: Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen), Vitalij Kuprij,
Lance King, Rene Janssen(Ayreon), Benny Jansson (Tears of Anger/Beyond
The same year also saw the first instrumental release in 10 years in
the guise of the eclectic "Earthbound". Mattsson found a new vein
of creativity and by 2006 had completed "Book Of Reflections II :
Unfold The Future" with vocals by Martin LeMar (Tomorrow's Eve) and
Björn Jansson (Ride The Sky / Tears Of Anger), with additional guitar
from Anand Mahangoe (Sphere Of Souls) and keyboards from Mistheria
(solo, Bruce Dickinson, Angel Of Eden).
2008 saw Mattsson gearing up for the accessible symphonic and prog
metal of 'Dream Child'. Joining Lars was new vocalist, the female
powerhouse Adrienn Antal whose soaring voice saw Mattsson step out on a
new path with its potent new sound for 2008.
2009 saw the re-release of a newly recorded and remastered version of
'No Surrender + Live' which came with 5 bonus live tracks from the
Mattsson archives. The album was warmly greeted by press
worldwide. The rest of the year saw Lars write the follow up to
March 19th 2010 sees the release of 'Tango', the new album released
under the Mattsson banner which again sees Adrienn Antal on vocals
along with new addition of Status Minor vocalist Markku Kuikka.
Lars spent countless hours putting together the intelligent and highly
accomplished music which looks set to take the Mattsson name to a new
fan base worldwide.
Never one to sit still Lars then set about composing the music for his
next album, the all instrumental 'Aurura Borealis' which is set for
release on April 18th 2011. This new album pushes the boundaries
of a guitar with an orchestra context by delivering a very original
take on the more traditional format used by the likes of Uli Jon Roth
In 2012 Lars started working on his next album "Epicentre" which was
finished 12 months later and released in September 2013 as digital
download only. This 18 track album sees Lars handling all the vocals as
well while musically Lars seem to have gone for shorter more accessible
songs while still incorporating some new influences.
As Lars was celebrating 25 years since his two first albums were
released in Japan 2014 saw Lars releasing a number of reissues and new
complilations of reviously unreleased material, such as both Condition
Red albums in new versions, the two compilations Hot and Able 1983-85
and Let Me Rock You 1984-87 each containing 16 tracks from Lars early
days. Also released under 2014 were a new version of the second Book of
Reflections album Chapter II - Unfold the Future as well as new
versions (all including bonus tracks) of "Earthbound" (October24 2014),
"Eternity" (November 14,02014) and "No Surrender" (December 12, 2014).
In September 2015 Lars released his first all acoustic album ”Songs
From a Different Room”, an album that had been in the making since late
2008. The album’s ten intimate tracks all feature vocals by Lars and
some of his best guitar playing to date. Also released in 2015: Condition Red's Beatles cover "Tomorrow Never Knows" as single.
In 2016 Condition Red released it's third album "Illusion of Truth", a
progressive concept album which saw Lars handling all guitars, bass and
vocals, just like as on the Condition Red single released a year
before. This year Lars also released a four track EP "Never Coming
Home", the title track was a remix of a 1989 "No Surrender" album out
take paired with two live tracks "The Exciter" and "Eternity" as well
as the previously unreleased 1989 version of the title track.
On November 16 Lars returns with his first all electric rock album in
four years, "Sand and Blood", and as it is thirty years after his debut
EP "Can't Go On Without Your Love", Lars decided to include a new
recording of this classic (true to the original). The album also
features a guest appearance by Adrienn Antal singing the album's last
song "Still Here Waiting".