Eclipse – a name that is symbolic with the term Melodic Hard rock has continued to turn the genre on its ear and continue to produce bombastic sounding albums. I first heard the band back in 2010 when I came across the “Are You Ready To Rock” cd in a $5.00 used bin at a cd store. Being a self-proclaimed melodic hard rock junky that is always on the prowl to add to my collection, I opened the booklet to the cd and saw the bands picture and I immediately remember saying “I’m going to give this a shot.” Needless to say, 7 years later and 3 more albums released, I am still raising the Swedish flag in honor of a band that creates melodic hard rock with a sonic boom that shakes an arena and invites all of us to throw our fist in the air and enjoy the ride. This band releasing a new album, for me, is an event and purchasing anything that has the Eclipse name tied to it is a guaranteed slam dunk. Funny how you remember the first time you’ve heard a band and the best $5.00 that you ever remember spending. The 7 years of listening has culminated into what is another fantastic release, you might even consider it “Monumentum.”
The album opens with “Vertigo,” the first single released and in typical Eclipse fashion explodes right out of the gate. Magnus Henriksson’s crunching guitar driving us into the stratosphere and Erik Martensson delivering the vocal lines with what is best summarized as Melodic Aggression. There is a system in place here to create tunes that just flat out rock. It’s a system that needs to be followed more often in these days of watered down, 2 chords and a cloud of dust album releases that sandwich a whole lot of emptiness between a few power tunes. So often I hear a band release their best song and the excitement is built, but when the album is released you scratch your head the entire way thru. That is definitely not the case here. Eclipse delivers and with the next tracks, “Never Look Back,” “Killing Me” and “The Dowfall of Eden” you get the same formula, massive hooks, hard charging melodies and bombastic rhythm. This is the Ferrari, hand built by artisans to be the finest in the world. You buy it because of its proven track record. You know what you are getting here.
“The DownFall Of Eden” changes it up a bit and the bands show’s it willingness to incorporate another element into the mix. The song reminds me of a hard rock tune right out of Braveheart with the touch of Gary Moore’s “Wild Frontier,” big and epic sounding. With “Hurt” the band stays mid-tempo, but this one has more of a modern hard rock sound from the spots with Martensson flying acapella to the transition into the powerful, dramatic bridge sections. The band powers thru every note and the rhythm section of Philip Crusner (Drums) and Magnus Ulfstedt (Bass) flow masterfully throughout.
Eclipse kicks up-tempo like a hurricane with “Jaded,” “Born To Lead” and “For Better Or Worse.” Hard driving guitar by Magnus Henriksson is like a six string stampede leading the troops motoring into battle. His tone is so good that he sounds like 2 guitarists and his solos are masterful, precise and moving. In reality, Henriksson is a guitarist that needs to be recognized as one of the best of the genre.
Just when you think that after 8 songs you have heard the best, put your ear to the speakers and get ready for a 3 track explosion. This is the final 3 laps at Daytona so tighten your harness because where other albums have nothing left in the tank, this is Eclipse and this band delivers right up to the last note. I am having a tough time picking a favorite track on “Monumentum.” Every listen offers up another favorite and I must say that “No Way Back” is one. Fast paced and just flat-out open throttle all the way.
Any great album has the uncanny knack of making the last song stick in your head. Eclipse has gone and taken that a step further and made the last 3 songs stick in my head. Is that possible or is it just the power that this band has over the listener that just draws them in? With so many memorable hooks, it’s no wonder that “Monumentum” has me in a trance like a cobra slithering to the snake charmers tune and I can’t come out of that trance when “Night Comes Crawling” kicks in. Just another rocket-ride through the hard rock universe; I never want the ride to end. The end is coming near, though and with that there is one more cherry for Eclipse to put on the pie with “Black Rain.” Yes, this is my favorite on the album. Mid-tempo to start then a very Dokkenesque groove that punctures my ears with a memorable chant “Let Me Be Your Confessor, Let Me Drive You Insane, Black Rain!!” Now that is how an album should release you from its clutches. My ass kicked thoroughly and loving the pain.
This album, In my opinion, is the best Eclipse album to date and with this band I am certain that I will be saying that when they release another new album. Sweden has brought magnificence in melodic hard rock in many forms, but to all of the others that have come before them have been obscured by a TOTAL ECLIPSE. For melodic hard rock fans, this is true “MONUMENTUM” – PLAY IT LOUD!!!!!
- Vertigo (3:23)
- Never Look Back (3:20)
- Killing Me (3:46)
- The Downfall Of Eden (4:21)
- Hurt (3:47)
- Jaded (3:36)
- Born To Lead (3:21)
- For Better Or For Worse (3:19)
- No Way Back (4:03)
- Night Comes Crawling (3:38)
- Black Rain (5:17)
Erik Mårtensson – lead vocals, guitars
Magnus Henriksson – guitars
Philip Crusner – drums
Magnus Ulfstedt – bass