CD Reviews

Eclipse - 'Armageddonize' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 09, 2015    
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Erik Mårtensson is fast becoming one of the leading lights of our beloved Melodic Rock genre, amassing an impressive C.V. of work with his writing and production work, let alone his accomplishments as a singer and guitarist. The dust has barely settled on his work with Ammunition (his collaboration with former Wig Wam vocalist Åge Sten Nilsen reviewed elsewhere this issue), yet it's immediately followed by the eagerly anticipated new Eclipse album, surely Mårtensson's primary focus.

In my opinion Eclipse are one of the masters of blending pure Melodic Rock with energetic Heavy Metal, yet coming after the epic majesty of 'Bleed And Scream' my initial impression of 'Armageddonize' is one of slight disappointment. The tunes are more concise and the harder edge of the previous album seems to have been smoothed over in favour of a more melodious approach, more in the vein of the 'Are You Ready To Rock' album and W.E.T.'s 'Rise Up' release (another Mårtensson partnership). Yet upon repeated listens, you realise that the Metallic elements are still very much present, it's just that, impressively, the melodies and choruses are even bigger and stronger than previously and they immediately grab the attention and become the focal point.

Indeed, the opening salvo of 'I Don't Wanna Say I'm Sorry', 'Stand On Your Feet' and 'The Storm' are straight out of the "how to write the perfect Melodic Rock song" book (if such a thing existed), while 'Wide Open' could well be the best chorus you'll hear in 2015. 'Breakdown' is a slight departure for Eclipse, a slide guitar intro gives way to an acoustic-driven stomp (reminiscent of Blue Murder's 'Jelly Roll') before escalating into a commercial groove-laden Rocker that will be fantastic in a live setting. The album's solitary ballad is the wonderful 'Live Like I'm Dying', featuring a soaring vocal from Mårtensson.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Yet Eclipse is not simply the Erik Mårtensson show; guitarist Magnus Henriksson is a vastly underrated talent, just check out his beautiful solo in the intro to the Celtic-tinged 'Blood Enemies', while Magnus Ulfstedt's bubbling bass lines meld seamlessly with drummer Robban Bäck's thunderous rhythms and intricate fills. Needless to say, the production is simply amazing, allowing each and every nuance to be clearly heard.

The heavier tracks appear in the latter half of 'Armageddonize'; 'Love Bites' is constructed around a searing riff, 'One Life – My Life' takes a more contemporary approach with an almost Gothic-sounding piano melody while the closing 'All Died Young' is an all-out pedal-to-the-metal anthem.

There's no denying that Sweden is a hot-bed of talent right now with some amazing bands; Eclipse are right up there with H.e.a.t and deserve to be acknowledged as one of the very best... phenomenal!

Ant Heeks

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