- Mountain Of Love
- Girl Goodbye
- Prove It To You
- On The Edge
- Feels So Strange
- Feel The Cold Wind
- Meant To Be
- Keepin' Your Dreams Alive
Vision - On The Edge
2004 Lion Music
Guitarist Lars Eric Mattson returns with the 3rd Vision album (4th if you include a best of). Mattson mostly composed this album between 1993 to 1998 for two previous versions of this band, but without Mattson discovering vocalist John Jeff Touch this album would never have been completed. The pair do make a good partnership, Touch's vocals are very distinctive and remind me of Mark Slaughter (Slaughter). The songwriting is certainly stronger here than on previous Vision releases, as is the production, with all ten tracks being enjoyable.
Opener Mountain Of Love sets the pace with its strong structure and simple yet effective riff; Touch's vocals carry the song well too. Girl Goodbye has a darker vibe and an original chord progression that works well, I also liked the harmony vocals on the verse and Mattson's short guitar licks that led back into the verses.
Prove It To You maintains the dark vibe and makes good use of light and shade, Touch's vocals growl here and make the chorus shine.
The title track On The Edge begins with a good bassline and sees a slightly modern sound that has some funk rock sensibilities to it, more in the way the bass and drums are locked in. The chorus is again very strong and sees good harmony vocals once again. This track has a great feel to it and is definitely one of the highlights.
Feels So Strange sounds to me like a mix of early 80's pop music with a hard rock vibe, original is the word here and again it works. John Jeff Touch's vocals definitely play a part in the tracks overall feel here, and again its unlike anything I think I have ever heard in hard rock but it works!
Feel The Cold Wind starts out echoing Led Zeppelin's Babe I'm Gonna Leave You with its soft verses, there is also some nice use of the electric sitar here by Mattson. The chorus has a good hook, again with a dark nature to it. Mattson's solo here is restraint and suits the mood of the track well - the track rides out on the chorus.
Stranded would not be out of place on a Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow album. The track is straight from the 1980's melodic hard rock school of thought, but that means killer melodies and a strong emphasis on feel. Again we see the electric sitar crop up which leads to an Uli Jon Roth esque solo from Mattson before the rest of the band comes back in, another highlight.
Meant To Be sees the 80's melodic hard rock tone continue and is home to another strong chorus which takes an unusual twist before heading back into the verse. John Jeff Touch's distinctive vocals again play a part in giving the track an air of originality into a competitive field.
Keepin' Your Dreams Alive is a bluesy shuffle that reminds me a little of Gary Moore's 'How Many More Times' (not the Zeppelin track) from his Back To The Blues album; not a bad thing by anymeans. The comparisons however end when we get to the pre-chorus and chorus which again has a great hook and Touch's vocals soar. Mattson lays down a strong solo here that has somewhat of a Blackmore vibe to these ears.
The darkish Susanna sees the album out in more melodic hard rock style. This track has several characters from the melodic riffing intro to the more commercialised feel of the verse (probably due to its major key tonality) before the pre-chorus goes to a more reflective sound. The chorus is pure 80's but avoids sounding cliché. Mattson interjects several solos and licks throughout this closing track.
To be honest this album took me somewhat by surpise. The previous Vision albums I have always left me a little cold like they were searching for a sound but never quite finding it. On The Edge is a different beast, the songwriting and sound is consistent throughout and nothing here sounds forced. Mattson has obviously found his perfect partner in John Jeff Touch and hope that the next release continues down a similar path as they obv have great skill in this genre.
Fans of acts such as Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow, the whole Swedish melodic hard rock scene and good quality songwriting should check On The Edge out promptly.
Hot Spots: On The Edge, Feels So Strange, Feel The Cold Wind, Stranded
Rating: 86% www.virtuosityone.com Andy Craven
|Vision - On The Edge
Title: On The Edge
Label: Lion Music
Lars Eric Mattson is a very versatile musician, composer and producer and features on a load of Lion Music releases. A lot of his work is instrumental and although I like instrumental music to a certain extent, I prefer to hear vocals added to the music. Fortunately Mattson’s new release, On The Edge, has vocals in them, as he too found it time for a change. Vision started out as a solo project, but has now evolved into a tight sounding band.
Although generally I AOR does not do much for me, I’d like to make an exception for this one! On The Edge balances between AOR/melodic rock and metal. Matteson tried to join forces with original Vision vocalist Conny Lind, but that did not work out and in 2003 singer John Jeff Touch stepped in. Unfortunately the internet did not give me anything on this guy, but from his performance on this album, he is fanatastic! Vaguely I heard a hint of Jon Bon Jovi in his vocals, but outside that, his vocals are truly powerfull and has a good range.
The material of On The Edge is not new, it was written in the period 1993 – 2003, but it all sounds fresh and new. Solid rock, with heavy riffs, virtuoso solos, outstanding vocals and a great drummer (Eddie Sledgehammer). Mattson himself plays all guitars, bass and keys. There is nothing much more I can say. This is a great album, with a good production, a consistend sound and, I cant say that enough, fabulous vocals. I really enjoy the guitar play of Mattson here. More of this, please?
Mountain of L
Added: August 3rd 2004
Related Link: http://www.larsericmattson.com
Vision - "On the Edge"
Released on Lion Music in 2004
John Jeff Touch - vocals
Lars Eric Mattsson - guitar, bass, keyboards
Eddie Sledgehammer - drums & percussion
TRACK - BY - TRACK:
1.) "Mountain of Love" - This track opens with a very simple electric picking pattern. The vocal lines of the pre-verse has a sound like John is almost whispering the vocals. The verse kicks in with a very eighties metal feel to it. For the main rhythm of the song Lars plays a very simple laid back chording pattern. The drum rhythm for the verse has a very tight sound to it. The backing vocals of the chorus are perfectly timed and right where they need to be. Lars like the rest of the guitar tracks lays back for the solo section. After the solo section there is a very small keyboard arrangement. The outro chorus section has a minor guitar solo underneath the vocal lines.
2.) "Girl Goodbye" - From the opening intro you can hear the TNT influence this song has. During the intro section there is a small lead guitar scale. When the vocal lines of the verse kick in if I did not know better I would swear this was Tony Harnell sings. The simple guitar riff Lars plays works very well with John's vocal lines. The harmonies of the chorus are very tight and sound great. During the breakdown section before the solo Lars added a little national steel guitar arrangement.
3.) "Prove it to You" - The Keyboard arrangement of this small intro is the main instrument. At times through the vocal lines John's vocals have a Tony Harnell feel to them. The main guitar arrangement of the verse section is a very simple electric picking pattern. John changes his vocal sound for the pre-chorus section. The second verses dynamics where changed a little by using a wood block instead of the snare drum. The breakdown section before the solo consisted of just keyboard. Lars plays a lot of nice licks through the progressive solo section. During the second solo section there is a vocal overdubbed harmony section underneath.
4.) "On the Edge" -This track opens with percussion. The opening bass section had a very cool sound and really shows Lars talent for not only playing guitar but also the bass. At times the guitar arrangement has a very abstract feel to it. The way the vocal line was set up for the verse suits the song very well. The backing harmonies of the choruses are very tight and have a TNT feel to them. At times on the vocal lines of the verse John whispers the vocal parts. For the solo Lars wrote and performed nothing too flashy. The choruses have huge hooks laced within the backing harmonies that also have a 'Westworld' feel. The wah-wah effect Lars chose for the solo suited the solo and song very well. The vocal line during the outro section really expresses John's vocal ability.
5.) "Feels so Strange" -I really liked the opening arrangement the band wrote for the intro on this track. John's vocal lines have a Tony Harnell feel on the verses, a lot like the stuff Tony does with 'Westworld'. Musically this track has quickly became my favorite. I really liked the hook Lars wrote for the guitar arrangements. The harmony sections on the choruses are superb, and are some of the best I've ever heard!!!! Even though the solo section at times as an abstract feel it really suits the song well. Even though the song is 3:55 long and that is still pretty long for today's standards, when listening to it the song is so good that it sounds short.
6.) "Feel the Cold Wind" -This track opens with a very that pack three finger plucking electric guitar pattern. I thought John chose the proper vocal style and sound for the music. At times the accents sound a little like 'Smashing Pumpkins' singer. After the first chorus there is a small lead scale. The main solo section is after the second chorus. All in all the song is a great sounding 'Westworld' style ballad.
7.) "Stranded" -This track opens with a huge eighties metal style intro and lead scale. The keyboard section for the verse completely blew me away. The verses and choruses are also written in the same eighties metal style. The minor solo section after the second chorus was not nearly as intense has I expected. The band really change the dynamics of the song during the breakdown section with a sitar solo. The main solo section was just guitar and sitar with no music backing them up.
8.) "Meant to Be" -The lead scale on this track has a very progressive feel. There is a very cool, simple lead guitar rhythm underneath the vocal lines of the verse. Underneath the chorus section Lars plays the same lead riff as the intro section. The solo section was accented with an acoustic guitar solo, this completely blew me away I was not expecting it at all.
9.) "Keepin' Your Dreams Alive" -This track opens with a blues/metal intro. When the vocals of the verse kick in you could say the band where influenced by any metal band from the eighties. I think every metal band from the eighties recorded a song in this style. The breakdown section has a very cool bass line. For the solo the band really locked into a solid groove. The song through the breakdown section has several different solo arrangements.
10.) "Susanna" -This track opens with a fairly standard intro. The vocal lines of the verses have a very third generation eighties metal feel. After the first chorus Lars plays a very small lead scale. The piano arrangement really filled in some of the dead spots of the guitar rhythm. The band changes the dynamics if the song by incorporating a twelve-note rhythm pattern within the music arrangement. >From time to time Eddie throws in the double bass for flavor.
With Lars Eric Mattsson writing all the songs and the CD being released on Lion Music I expected a more progressive style CD. But that is not the case Vision is all balls eighties metal!!! 'On the Edge' is on of those few CD's that you could put in your CD player and play all the way through uninterrupted. This CD is an absolute must have.
Darrell Finley Blast Magazine (www.blastmagazine.net
Vision: On the Edge
Seemingly damned from the beginning, despite the presence of renowned Finnish guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Lars Eric Mattsson, Vision has gone through multiple record labels, rotating band lineups and even a split since its formation in 1992. But now comes On the Edge, a collection of 10 songs — five written and recorded in 1993 for the band’s never-released second album and five composed and demoed in 1997. By putting some finishing touches on these tunes in 2003, Vision has issued an album 10 years in the making.
While neoclassical flourishes (“Prove It To You”) and progressive overtones (“Feels So Strange”) pop up occasionally, On the Edge — along with House of Shakira’s recently released First Class — is one of the most AOR-oriented albums to come from Lion Music in quite awhile. Performed entirely by Mattsson, drummer/percussionist Eddie Sledgehammer (surely that's not the dude’s real name?) and singer John Jeff Touch, On the Edge sounds like a combination of Zebra, latter-day Whitesnake, Queen and Winger.
In the liner notes, Touch even thanks Kip Winger for inspiration, and it’s clear the man has studied the vocal styles of Winger (who, by the way, is a criminally underrated bass player and singer). With a higher-pitched voice than Winger, Touch may scream a tad too much for some listeners’ tastes — just listen to the title track — but his crystalline pipes are no less impressive. And Mattsson’s level of musicianship and songwriting diversity will likely keep fans of more-progressive music interested in most of these 10 songs.
1) Mountain of Love (4:51)
2) Girl Goodbye (4:01)
3) Prove It To You (4:53)
4) On the Edge (5:00)
5) Feels So Strange (3:55)
6) Feel the Cold Wind (4:26)
7) Stranded (5:04)
8) Meant to Be (4:21)
9) Keepin’ Your Dreams Alive (4:27)
10) Susanna (6:00)
Total Time: 47:01
Added: June 29th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Lion Music
Vision : The Best Of
Lion Music / 17 songs
Vision released two albums , one with Conny Lind ( Amaze Me ) and one with Randolph Reymers on lead vocals .
This compilation cd contains twelve tracks of these two albums , so this cd also includes 5 bonustracks who were never released on cd until this moment .
These 5 songs are just as good as the twelve others and make this an very interesting compilation album even if you already have the two first cd´s .
Vision plays Scandinavian AOR/melodic rock but due to the fantastic lead vocals by Conny Lind (who is one of my favourite Swedish vocalists ever) and the impressive guitarplaying by Lars Eric Mattsson , Vision definetly sounds different from bands such as Talk Of The Town , Amaze Me or Bad Habit .
This is an album that will perfectly fit in every melodic rock fan´s cd collection .
Website : www.lionmusic.com
Rating : 80 %
Review by Ronny Elst
Die Band VISION war nicht gerade vom Glück verfolgt. Nach dem Debütalbum 1992 wurde eine Mini Live-CD aufgenommen, welche nie veröffentlicht wurde. Das gleiche Schicksal ereilte das zweite Studioalbum der Schweden. Die Gründe lagen im damaligen Boom der Grunge-Welle und die Band löste sich auf. Lars Eric Mattsen aktivierte 1997 die Band erneut und es erschien die Scheibe “ Till The End Of Time” Die geplante Reunion entpuppte sich aber nur als Studioprojekt. Zum Glück beschert uns das Label Lion Music dieses Album mit 17 hervorragenden AOR und Hardrock Songs skandinavischer Prägung, von denen fünf bisher unveröffentlicht waren. Freunde der angesprochenen Musikrichtung können bedenkenlos zuschlagen.
Bewertung: 10 von 12 Punkten. Lorenz www.rock4ever.de
| Review by Roger Brosel of AOR Land :
Conny Lind (V)
Lars Eric Mattsson (G,K)
Tony Mattsson (D)
Micke Ahlskog (B)
LION MUSIC 1998
This is the re-issue (that includes two extra new tracks) of the debut by Scandinavian melodic rock band Vision. The vocal duties are carried by Conny Lind (Amaze Me, Talk of the Town...) and the guitars by the leader of the band: Lars Eric Mattsson who has also released his latest solo album ("Obsession") in 1998. This disc contains all the elements that have built the Scando unique sound: classical-trained guitars, great keyboard arrangements and singalong choruses. Vision follows a more AOResque vein that Lars E. Mattsson's solo outcomes, and to name a few "Making Love in a Dream", "All Over Now" or the amazing "Round & Round" are in-your-face melodic rock. The only fault I can find is that all the tunes contain similar patterns and sound.
What about the two extra tracks? They both follow the same vein as the rest of the tracks and are quite good. The first one, the rocker "Fields of No Return" has a hell of catchy chorus and the second "I Will Be There" is a mid-tempo with an breathtaking in-crescendo guitar work by Lars.
If you didn't grabbed a copy when it was originally released (like me!), you will find Vision's re-issue a more than worth buying album filled with pure Scandinavian melodic rock. If are a fan of the Finnish guitarist and you are thinking of buying it, I must say that the two bonus tracks are more than good.
Vision "The Best Of"
© 2000 Lion Music
With numerous line–up changes and significant business–end
problems plaguing their three albums, one of which was never
released, it has often been an unfortunately difficult quest to
find the AOR/melodic hardrock of Vision. This new anthology,
which includes a healthy helping from the unreleased album, is
a great remedy. Although the quality of production and
songwriting are inconsistent across "The Best Of Vision," it is
an impressively melodic collection of rockers and ballads,
fueled by Lars Eric Mattsson's remarkable
Other than a few less–than–gripping songs, the set's major
weakness is that it can feel a bit generic, sounding in places
like everyone from Night Ranger to Talisman to Michael
Schenker. The fact that the tracks are taken from three distinct
times with different line–ups doesn't help the album achieve
coherence. Still, it is a fantastic way to catch up on Mattsson's
career, and for uninitiated melodic rock fans who can
appreciate somewhat small–feeling hardrock, it could be quite
a rewarding discovery.
— by Eric Aaron, Senior staff writer www.openupandsay.com