The Swedish AOR Melodic Rock machine is back.
It’s not ironic that this album is called “Momentum” and the skull on the front is wearing a crown. Erik Mårtensson has taken this band places that I didn’t think were possible. I still have their first CD “The Truth and a Little More” from 2001 and I remember doing an interview with the young Mårtensson (who hasn’t aged a bit). I knew that he had a knack for writing catch Melodic Rock, but I didn’t foresee him becoming a force like he has.
The band certainly has “Momentum” as they are the current kings of AOR/Melodic Rock.
With that crown comes a lot of pressure as I now hold them to a higher standard than I did 15 years ago. So, did the live up to the hype? I would have to say “yes” they did. The band is phenomenally tight at the production is superb. I call them AOR but at times they’re just a tiny step below some of the Power Metal that’s out there. They don’t shy away from keeping thing heavy, which gives them a wider appeal with the male and Metal crowd.
Eclipse makes the music we WISH Bon Jovi was still making.
Around the world there is still a viable scene for this style of Rock, here in the States, it’s still a niche as the modern rock scene will probably consider Eclipse to “80’s” and not dark enough. That’s fine, they don’t need the States to be highly successful as many bands are finding out.
Now, they are not without their faults of course. I found the lyrics to be predictable and overall it sounded like a “Rocky” Soundtrack. For hardcore fans of the genre that’s perfect, they’re traditionalists that don’t want the band to stray too far outside the box. Luckily for Eclipse, their sound is so tight and Mårtensson has a gift for writing catchy harmony. Songs like “Vertigo” and “Jaded” are good examples of where the verses are better than the chorus.
Since my tastes have evolved over the years to a more heavier style, I preferred songs like “When Eden Comes Down” and “Black Rain”. It shows that Eclipse could easily become a Metal band with no problems. Guitarist Magnus Henriksson easily has the chops of any Metal band out there and it’s nice to hear him really let go at times.
Overall, this is what I expected from the band, their dedication to quality is unmatched. Fans of the genre are going to put this as one of the top albums of the year. Personally I’d like a little more “edge” to the music, but the band is smart, they’re maximizing their potential and audience and I expect them to be on top for years to come.
Erik Mårtensson – lead vocals, guitars
Magnus Henriksson – guitars
Philip Crusner – drums
Magnus Ulfstedt – bass