I don’t know how Erik Mårtensson does it. I mean song writing here. Does he put a coin in himself and push the go-button and out comes a killer song? It doesn’t matter who he writes for, be it Eclipse, WET, Nordic Union and whatever, he floors me again and again. Kudos must also be given to guitarist Magnus Henriksson who co-writes lots of stuff with Mårtensson. It took a while for me to get into Eclipse – it was in 2015 and the amazing Armageddonize, to be precise. That made me check out the prior album Bleed And Scream (2012), a really good album too. After that record, Eclipse has astonished me with every album – with Monumentum (2017) as my favorite. This also means that I crave a whole damn lot when anything signed Mårtensson comes out and the expectations are almost preposterous to the point I almost feel sorry for the guy. And now it’s time for yet another release by this splendid outfit.
The album kicks off with the latest single ”Roses On Your Grave” and dude and dudettes, I’m effing floored already after half the song is done. It’s an uptempo, straight ahead rocker with pumping rhythms, some raunchy guitars and melodies that throws out hooks fiercely. It’s driven, heavy and slightly aggressive yet with some smoother melodies to insert the catchiness and when the chorus hits, catchy is the key-word and the tune hits me like a ton of bricks. Phenomenal. Even heavier, yet on a poppier note, ”Dying Breed” goes after you tooth and nail. It’s ballsy, fat and edgy but with a prominent melody-hook and a massive chorus that’s impossible to escape from. What’s not to love about that, tight?
Leading single ”Saturday Night (Hallelujah)” that preceded the album is really a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky 80’s sounding Hard Rock anthem with the slick pop-hook perfect for the party. It’s an uplifting crowd-pleaser with a positive outlook. Sure, lyrically it’s a bit clichéd at times but that kinda goes with the song’s outlook. Again, the refrain his highly addictive and should’ve been all over rock-radio. A real killer. ”Run For Cover” holds a darker touch and it’s heavier with a clear chunk of Metal involved. The verses comes of a bit mellower and slower but the chorus throws in a stompier beat and it ups the tempo. Still on a darker, metal route, said chorus is also quite pop-hooky with a direct catchiness. Again, very, very good.
”Carved In Stone” starts out slow and stripped with only vocals and an acoustic guitar but continues in a more bombastic, pompous mode as some kind of semi power ballad on a heavier stomp. The soundscape here is grandiose with a slightly darkening touch. A chunky riff, some oozing harmonies and a striking hook makes the song’s chorus stick like glue. Will this be single # 5? A hit in my book anyway. Great. All over the radio as I write this is single # 3 ”Twilight” and it rightfully should be. It’s a fast-tracked, upbeat and riffy classic Eclipse number on a stompy rhythm. Every little melody here has a contagious hook with a bullseye chorus. Also, the insert of Beethoven’s 9th symphony ”Ode To Joy” in the end is brilliant. I know that Ritchie Blackmore did it first but it doesn’t take away the perfect fit it has for this song. Awesome.
”Poison In My Heart” starts out almost folky but continues upbeat albeit with some mellower vocal-lines. There are 80’s vibes within the melody arrangements but also touches of Metal, some acoustics and AOR-laden hooks which are more prominent in the big, distinct chorus, making it another infectious tune – very good indeed. Second single ”Bite The Bullet” attacks with some crunchy, metal-fueled riffing. The verse calms things down some and goes into a down-beat yet heavy route. The refrain is more classic, straight ahead Hard Rock, very concise and direct and right in your face. It’s melodic yet ballsy, pop-catchy yet headbang-friendly. The hit-potential is enormous on this one.
”We Didn’t Come To Lose” is a full-on late 80’s arena-rocker with a distinct and fat-grounded live-sound. This is sing-along friendly, uplifting, fist-in-the-air and colorful 80’s laden melodic Hard Rock at its best with delicate melodies and tasteful guitar-playing. This might come across as repetitive from my part but again, the chorus is massive with yet another monster-hook to go with it. Fabulous stuff. ”Things We Love” is a solid rocker, upbeat and highly melodic carried on a steady and fat beat. Melody-wise, the tune veers slightly into AOR-territory but it never gets sugary or cheesy – and the Thin Lizzy influenced, Celtic inspired guitar-lines are phenomenal. A great rough-edged Melodic Rock tune with an effective refrain.
Closing number ”Dead Inside” brings on an intro and a beginning slightly reminiscent of W.A.S.P’s ”Wild Child” but the similarities ends then and there. What we’re given here is a Melodic Rock song with a darker twist and a hard, solid beat. It’s a powerful song that mixes heaviness with smoother vocal-melodies and an instant catchiness in both verse and refrain. It comes with a stomp perfect for the stage and the infectious hooks of the chorus makes it a natural sing-along song for next years festival-crowds. A damn good song and a perfect closer.
This is a brilliant record for lovers of Hard Rock of the more melodic kind where more or less every song is a winner and even though I’m pretty much in awe of every album Eclipse has released since Armageddonize, this album is breathing down Monumentum’s neck as the band’s best effort of their career – the full monty score here is very, very close and since it keeps growing on me by each listen it might just be their best one to my ears in the future to come. To pick singles from this record must be a luxury problem as I can hear a single in each of them – Mårtensson’s well of highly contagious choruses seems endless. An impressing effort – again – to say the least.