Fireworks

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Nordic Union - 'Nordic Union' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d8/2e/4f/nordic-union-nordic-union-16-1450122831.jpg Hot

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Without a doubt, an exceedingly essential purchase.

Ah yes, the much maligned "project" album... Hold on, let's not go into that again, I've already discussed my feelings for that in the Find Me review elsewhere this issue. And if said FM album is in itself a stunning collaboration, then Nordic Union must be the ultimate.

In Frontiers' own words, this is a collaboration between a "legendary Danish" singer and an "up-and-coming Swedish song-writer and producer". The "legendary" singer in question is Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids, a band who have amassed a stunning catalogue of work throughout their thirty-five year career, while the "up and-coming song-writer" is none other than Eclipse's Erik Mårtensson.

Mårtensson is an energetic front-man with a great voice, an extremely under-rated guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, an accomplished producer and a song-writer extraordinaire. He has an astonishing body of work to his name including three cracking Eclipse albums and two W.E.T. albums, let alone his contributions to the likes of Jimi Jamison, Adrenaline Rush, Age Sten Nilsen's Ammunition and now NU. In my opinion, Mårtensson himself has already achieved legendary status within this genre of music.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Admittedly, to describe NU as a blend of PM and Eclipse does sound like the easy option, but with the combination of Atkins' trademark rasping bellow and Mårtensson's indefatigable aptitude for crafting the perfect Melodic Rock anthem, that's exactly what you get, even though some of those melodies have cautiously taken on a slightly darker edge.

From the brooding opener 'The War Has Begun', the contemporary Melodic Hard Rock of 'Hypocrisy' and 'When Death Is Calling', the anti-war anthem '21 Guns', the lively H.e.a.t-ish Pop/Rock of 'The Other Side' and the Treat-sounding Scandieness of the awesome 'Point Of No Return' to the shimmering ballads 'Every Heartbeat' and 'True Love Awaits You', it's an album you will want to return to time and time again.

Naturally, Mårtensson's production is perfect. He also takes on lead guitar duties for the bulk of the material, along with contributions from Eclipse band-mate Magnus Henriksson, Thomas Larsson (Glenn Hughes, Baltimoore) and Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed), while Eclipse's current bassist Magnus Ulfstedt shifts across the rhythm section to occupy the drum-stool.

Already for me, there are three albums to be released in January that are strong contenders for the coveted "Album Of 2016 Award" – this is unquestionably one of them. Without a doubt, an exceedingly essential purchase.

Ant Heeks

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