A Blast from the past! 1983-85 Lars Eric Mattsson was rocking out with his first real band, “Joe Cool” performing his songs. The band never managed to get signed but the songs are still alive and now be bring you this 16 track collection of Lars’ work from these years.
The influences of Deep Purple, Rainbow etc are never far away while neoclassical and progressive influences add spice to some of the more straight ahead rock material on this release which arguably is Lars best sounding album to date.
These songs represent Lars’ first serious compositions made for and originally performed by his band at the time, ”Joe Cool” which originally featured a female singer, later a male one when the band started adaping a more straight ahead hard rock style. A few minor updates to the lyrics and music were made during the recording but mostly this is what they were like originally. Original drummer Olle Sjöstrand’s fine ideas have remained as an inspiration throughout the years. Some of the songs on Lars’ debut album ”Eternity” were take from this period though most of that album and the following ”No Surrender” were written very fast in the studio while making those album and it is quite likely that these songs are superior having been road tested and developed over time while Lars was sick of them at the time and preferred not to include them on his debut and the following album. Lars recalls that going back to these songs was a decision made alrealy 6 years ago, but time did not permit this to happen sooner. So here they are, 30 years later!
Astral Groove was recorded in 1994 after Lars Eric Mattsson having played for about a year in a cover band doing Jimi Hendrix and Blues classics, so it is no big surprise that this release is pretty heavy on the blues vibe. Usually described as Hard Rock with funk and blues influences Astral Groove is a bit different from other albums that Lars had been involved in. It was by accident that this project ever came true. Lars had been writing the material with the plan that the musicians in his 1994-95 cover band, Voodoo Chile would record the songs, but it just did not work, so in stepped vocalist Bjorn Lodin, coming from his own band Baltimoore, which had just released it’s 4th album and also split up. Bass player Michael Ahlskog had previously played in VISION as well as on Lars’ earlier solo recordings. Drummer Thomas Tornefjell made the band complete. Several reasons, both personal and commercial, killed the band which never got a chance to perform live. But the music lives on – and you can’t deny that ASTRAL GROOVE was jam packed with great feel!
In 2019 Lars revisited the master recordings and came up with the ultimate version of this timeless classic album!
There are still a few unused tracks from these 1994 sessions that will probably see the light of day eventually.