Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
ECLIPSE – WIRED
Released – 8th October 2021
Coming off their most successful album yet, Paradigm (which includes the massive single Viva La Victoria with 15 million streams and counting), Sweden’s Eclipse are back with their new studio album Wired.
Preceded by the first single, an anthem for the ages, Saturday Night (Hallelujah) the ninth studio album sees the Swedish quartet going from strength to strength and, as they have done since the beginning, taking no prisoners.
Scandinavian rock bands have been high on the radar since the late 1970’s when the likes of Hanoi Rocks came out of their punk scene, followed by Backyard Babies and The Hellacopters, and through the 1980s then Europe and Treat took on the mantle of melodic rock, while Roxette headed for pop rock territory, before the heavier bands appeared in the 1990’s such as Entombed and Opeth, really just too many to mention.
There is something about the Scandi-melodic rock sound though that has remained pretty constant since those early years of Europe, and there is a plethora of top quality bands that are now well-established, and benefitting it seems from a renewed interest in the genre, with H.E.A.T., Crazy Lixx, WET, Bad Habit, Work of Art, Art Nation and Grand Design all still pushing out quality product.
Eclipse took a couple years to find their way onto Z Records roster in 2001 and released The Truth And A Little More, and then scored a deal with melodic rock powerhouse label Frontiers to release Second To None, and have stuck with Frontiers all the way through to 2021 and Wired.
There is an equal measure of power and pomp in the Eclipse sound, and Roses On Your Grave slams out of the speakers to open the CD in style. There is an underlying powerful riff, while bass and drums kick the tempo along, allowing Erik Martensson to give the first of many strong vocal performances, and the chorus is a ripper. The brief but intense solo leads into a complex mash-up of riffs, drums and keys, before powering back into the chorus and the smash-bang ending!
Keyboards are a big part of the sound, and handled by Magnus Henriksson as well as all the guitars, and provide the poppier sequenced sound that sits behind the spectacular riffs, and the multi-layered vocal harmonies, driven along by the super-solid rhythm-section of the Crusner brothers, Victor on the Bass and Philip on Drums. Dying Breed has it all, and sees Erik show off his full range on the voice, which is impressive.
The new single is a crowd-pleasing anthem, Saturday Night (Hallelujah), and allows the guys to show off all of the trademarks – power chords, big drums, uber-catchy chorus, and a tasty twin-guitar solo before the slight break and epic return to the final chorus. This is the song we have all been hanging out for over the past 18 months – Turn It Up!!!
There are a few nods back to some of the slightly gaelic melodies that started with Thin Lizzy and have run through Dare and Ten more recently, in the guitar melodies of Run For Cover, which has a driving bass line that leads into the monster pre-chorus, and the mob vocals of the chorus, before a signature ripper of a solo, short, intricate and explosive. Then after another chorus we get the solo proper, and Magnus absolutely shreds his way through a few different elements before a suitably epic ending.
After four out and out rockers, we get a ballad in Carved In Stone, that opens up with guitar and vocals above layers of strings and a piano melody, with some choir-like backing. After just over 2 minutes of restraint, the ballad turns into a power ballad of true AOR style for the final 60 seconds of pomp rock heaven. A delicate intro belies the power of Twilight which has a hook-filled riff, powerhouse drumming, and overblown backing vocals, leading into a fairly understated solo, and some more of those twin guitar harmonics which are a bit of a trademark. Erik lets rip on the vocals towards the end, and there is kitschy and probably unnecessary classics melody thrown in – but all part of the Eclipse tongue-in-cheek view!
Another signature track is the excellent Poison Inside My Heart, which has everything you could want from a heavy melodic rock anthem, and this has a superlative lead break tucked away for good measure. The grungiest riff opens up the almost-brutal Bite The Bullet, and then stays in the background under the more AOR-ish verse, coming back to the fore in the epic chorus, with the crowd-shouts of “Bite” accentuating the title. A bit of a white-noise mid-section before an almost Spanish guitar break takes us back to the main riff, with some evocative chants thrown in, before a sudden stop, then a crash back into the chorus outro.
We Didn’t Come To Lose has an I Love Rock’N’Roll feel to the riff and drums, but the multiple harmony lines of the vocals are just divine – you can see the arena with every pair of hands clapping in time as the band deliver this crowd-pleasing slab of catchy commercial rock, even throwing a key change in for the final chorus. The gaelic guitar melodies return for the intro of Things We Love, and Erik delivers a superb lead vocal while Henrik plays all around the melody with guitar breaks galore. Some staccato guitar, bass and drum accents lead into an intricate dual guitar solo which delivers a slightly different sound to the rest of the album, proving perhaps that Eclipse are not just a one-trick pony.
The CD / Digital version of the album closes with a bonus track in Dead Inside, another meaty slice of punchy melodic rock that delivers in all of those areas we expect – including a monster mid-section from vocals and guitars, and soaring lead vocals through the last couple of choruses, while the guitar wails behind the melody – a powerful way to close the record. There is a different track on the vinyl release and for some reason the track listing is in a different order on the two versions.
I am aware that these guys are not providing anything unique or ground-breaking, but as someone brought up on the early days of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and 1980’s melodic rock as a genre, I love Eclipse – and having seen them live can confirm that they deliver onstage with all the power and passion of the records.
Erik Mårtensson – Vocals
Magnus Henriksson – Guitars
Philip Crusner – Drums
Victor Crusner – Bass
Website : https://www.eclipsemania.com/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/EclipseSweden/
Instagram : http://instagram.com/eclipse_sweden