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Mattsson: Dream Child
Symphonic/Gothic/Progressive Metal
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Lion Music founder and CEO Lars Eric Mattsson returns with his new album 'Dream Child.' On this work he introduces new found talent, vocalist Adrienn Antal who reminds you of Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel. Mattsson himself is an accomplished musician and composer; he handles the guitar, bass and keyboard work adeptly. The expectation you have is that 'Dream Child' will be another venture into the gothic/symphonic metal that is so predominant today. It is that. Yet, there is more to this work than this well-worn genre. Elements of traditional heavy metal as well as power and progressive metal reverberate through the entire album.

According to the press material, 'Dream Child' took 15 months to complete with Mattsson taking great care to arrange and record very precisely with many ideas being reworked during this process ...' Strings and woodwinds, courtesy of The Astral Orchestra, were included to add breadth and depth to the album. Yet, the focal point of the album are Ms. Antal's vocals which Mattsson believes bring the songs to life. To a certain extent, I would agree. Antal is a fine vocalist and performs well on this album. However, I still believe Mattsson' compositions are stronger and more believable than a cookie cut goth vocalist. In other words, it is the songs that bring out the best in Ms. Antal. Otherwise, she would merely be a second rate Tarja Turunen (without the high pitch). Don't get me wrong here: Antal is wonderful. But she is so because of the music.

With the aforementioned caveats, 'Dream Child' is a novel and superior work compared to what has been offered in this genre in the last 15 months. Again, this thanks to Mattsson' compositions and musicianship and Antal's vocals. There are some stand out songs on this work including 'See The Dreamer Behold,' a simply sterling number that proves Mattsson's abilities and Antal's talent: great symphonic metal with progressive nuances. 'I Am Coming Home' gives you a sweeping and grandiose arrangement that could easily be found on fantasy movie soundtrack. 'Killing Everything' will seem uneven at first, but the more you listen it truly excites because of its clever arrangement. Another brilliant song is 'Until Our Last Goodbye' which succeeds in overcoming the whole goth thing. It's powerful heavy metal with, again, some progressive twists. For something completely different, enjoy 'Moonlight Dream' which integrates some world music influences. In the end, I found 'Dream Child' to be quite satisfying.

On Mattsson's 'Dream Child' you can expect the beauty of excellent song craftsmanship and production. New found vocalist Adrienn Antal's introduction is, frankly, quite impressive as she responds well to the music. I don't know what's ahead for here, but she has a promising future. 'Dream Child' is a work loaded with interesting movements and great surprises. Highly recommended.
- Craig Hartranft

In Short

Lion Music founder Lars Eric Mattsson brings us his latest work, 'Dream Child.' He offers to us his latest discovery, Ms. Adrienn Antal on vocals. But don't expect more of the same unfocused and worn goth metal here. Yes, some of that is here, but there is more: some truly outstanding heavy and progressive metal. 'Dream Child' is very good and highly recommended.

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