Eclipse - 'Paradigm'

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Eclipse - 'Paradigm'

This is anthemic Melodic Hard Rock at its absolute best... and it's bloody brilliant.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I truly think that Eric Mårtensson is one of the greatest song-writers to grace the Melodic Rock scene – let alone the fact he's a great, energetic front-man blessed with a brilliant voice and also a pretty nifty guitarist. I love everything he's involved with, be it W.E.T., Ammunition or Nordic Union; however, he reserves his finest work for Eclipse, so they will always be the band I anticipate every new release from the most. Needless to say, 'Paradigm' more than lives up to expectations – and then some!

There has sporadically been a Celtic influence in Eclipse's music – think back to older tracks like 'Battlegrounds' and 'The Storm' – but you can hear that it's a motif which emerges frequently throughout 'Paradigm' and this adds a wonderful facet to their punchy Melodic Hard Rock.

Take album opener and first single 'Viva La Victoria' which is a rousing Celtic battle hymn that's going to be killer live. Then you also have 'Blood Wants Blood' with its subtle Thin Lizzy-esque guitar melody, the buoyant acoustic-based romp complete with a gang chorus that is 'United', the gloriously melodious 'When The Winter Ends' that Dare's Darren Wharton would be proud to call his own (where Magnus Henriksson's guitar solo is an absolute treat!) and the lively 'Never Gonna Be Like You' whose riff is screaming out for an uilleann pipe accompaniment.

'The Masquerade' is mid-tempo yet powerfully majestic where the Celtic feel underpins the chorus and guitar melody, while the closing number 'Take Me Home' is ballad-ish with a tribal-sounding rhythm and Celtic-inspired soaring chorus. This is not Mårtensson or Eclipse copping out and trying to emulate somebody else; it's just them adding an extra element to their sound that works absolutely brilliantly – you could possibly say it's Eclipse at their most commercial-sounding too.

Elsewhere, you have more typically-sounding Eclipse fare like the anthemic 'Mary Leigh', punchy 'Delirious' and rampant '38 Or 44'. The elegant and understated power ballad 'Shelter Me', with its subtle piano melody that actually reminds me a little of Shinedown, is pure class.

I still maintain that the Whitesnake-meets-Pretty Maids bombast that is 'Bleed & Scream' remains Eclipse's finest hour, but although the two previous records 'Armageddonize' and 'Monumentum' pushed it damn close, 'Paradigm' pushes it even closer. This is anthemic Melodic Hard Rock at its absolute best... and it's bloody brilliant!

Ant Heeks

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