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Mattias 'IA' Eklundh, one of Sweden's prides, has released the second Freak Guitar album titled as 'The Road Less Traveled'. Those who don't know, Mattias is a very talented guitarist, who likes to experiment a lot. He's also known from his band Freak Kitchen (which is, by the way, very good).
Most of the songs on this album are good... they have nice melodies and Mattias' trademark lead playing (high pitched overtones, whammy abuse etc). Also oral drumming is included ;) A word of caution, though: songs on Freak Guitar albums are more or less experimental and might not please the usual music listener. As a guitarist I quite like them, but you might hate them. To describe the songs, they're very experimental ranging from heavy to classical guitar music. Usually they are based around some very catchy idea... However, there were some songs I didn't like. For example, the last track could have been left out. Mattias' himself also found it annoying, but everyone he played it to found it hilarious for some (odd) reason.
Production is good, the sounds are clean for the most part... Little Bastard had distortion, which Mattias ignored: "a little distortion never hurt anyone". Some of the sounds could have been mixed better, but nothing much. This album in its entirety has been quite well produced.
This album is a great record for guitarists who are searching for inspiration. Also others may like it, but listening before buying is recommended as Mattias' songs are very experimental. As most of the songs are instrumental (there was only one song, which had lyrics), the stories behind the songs make for interesting reading. On one song description (Insert Coin), Mattias advised not to play it as your favourite music on your first date... Sense of humour is something Mattias certainly does not lack (if you have listened to Freak Kitchen, you have probably noticed this from his lyrics).
On a more critical note, I must point out that on Caffeine Mattias played a lead which was really similar to his earlier work (every now and then Mattias has been found guilty of re-exploring his previous riffs). As I've listened to all Freak Kitchen and Freak Guitar albums, this is something I instantly noticed. However, it doesn't disturb in any way. If you're a guitarist, I recommed you to check this album out... Also others may find it interesting, but I advise you to check out the Freak Kitchen albums earlier (they're easier to approach). All in all, "The Road Less Traveled" is a solid IA album which the fans will most likely find interesting.
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- MAGE (13.09.2004)
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