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Eclipse - Wired Award winner

Eclipse
Wired
by Chris Hicklin at 04 January 2022, 1:20 AM

Confession time, Swedish rockers ECLIPSE are on their ninth LP release with “Wired” and yet they have managed to pass below my radar for more than 2 decades now, a mistake I have been very happy to rectify this week.

The opening chords of “Roses on Your Grave” sound a little awkward. With a slightly clunky riff playing against a backdrop of clinking glasses and bar-noise, it sounds like it is going to be a bit of a wet affair. Not for too long though, as the track very quickly explodes into action redeeming the riff, that with the full wallop of a band behind it is transformed into an arena sized beast. Erik Mårtensson’s vocals are not far behind, and they are precise and robust with meticulous harmonies. Determined to throw everything they have at this first track, Magnus Henriksson belts out an impressive shreddy solo with lots of dual guitar runs while the rhythm section of the brothers Crusner proves itself a highly capable monster as well.

More clinically performed shredding can be found on “Dying Breed” which blasts out a huge main riff that would be at home in a Power Metal outfit, the same can be said for the propulsive chorus which is begging for a festival of fans to welcome it. This is followed by the album’s first single “Saturday Night (Hallelujah)” another massive sing-along track that takes some tips from the best of BON JOVI’s shameless crowd-pleasing tactics. It’s not subtle, but it is thoroughly darned enjoyable.

The Power/Folk Metal influences are on show again in “Run for Cover” as well as a blistering 1000bpm solo (not literally!) from Henriksson. This track builds and builds with layer upon layer of vocals and guitars bringing it to a truly thrilling climax. If you are feeling high at this point, the acoustic ballad “Carved in Stone” may bring you back to earth for a few minutes at least, a beautifully measured piece with sound effects and carefully constructed choral backing vocals used to great atmosphere building effect. It takes the perfect opportunity to translate this into a heavy mid-paced rocker at the halfway point, leaving one feeling quite breathless by the end.

The band’s diversity in performance is on display in “Poison Inside My Heart,” the track uses a Mandolin to add some flavour beyond the six-strings, and whilst more a mid-tempo power ballad than a Folk track, the instrument fits in perfectly. “Bite the Bullet” is an interesting track to say the least, ostensibly a plodding Stadium Rocker the song manages to brilliantly blend in some vibrato-soaked surf guitar and creepy backing vocals in an unexpected coup that elevates this track from a perfunctory exercise in rawk to something unique sounding. I’m not sure what the band was imbibing when they wrote this one, but I’ll take two.

We Didn’t Come to Lose” has an introduction ripped straight from the pages of the book of “Adrenalise” era DEF LEPPARD and with hook laden verses and anthemic choruses the comparisons don’t end there. It’s a great slice of 80s rock, nothing too ambitious this time, just quality writing, and performances all round.

The Things We Love” is soaked in Celtic styled guitars that sounds like someone mashed up BIG COUNTRY with THIN LIZZY. The main guitar riff recalls “Look Away” by the former, while the latter is embodied by a lead sound highly reminiscent of the Gorham/Robertson line-up of twin leads, this would be a great end to a great album you might say, except that my copy has a “bonus” track tacked on to the end named “Dead Inside”. The mind boggles that the band considered this only to be worthy of inclusion as an afterthought on one format of the LP (other formats carry a different sequence of tracks as well as different bonus tracks) as it is a fist pumping triumph. If I don’t see this track backing up a training montage in the next series of Cobra Kai, a great injustice will have been done to the world.

There’s nothing to fault in the production of the album, the drum sounds are resonant, the bass pumping, the guitars expertly recorded. The same can be said for the writing and the performance. Possibly the lyrics can be a little gawky in places, but it is also worth remembering the band are not performing in their first language. Recommended to any fan of big 80s Rock bands in the vein of BON JOVI, fans of traditional Heavy Metal and Folk Metal, but also anybody who appreciates informed and eclectic song writing.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Roses on Your Grave
2. Dying Breed
3. Saturday Night (Hallelujah)
4. Run for Cover
5. Carved in Stone
6. Twilight
7. Poison Inside My Heart
8. Bite the Bullet
9. We Didn't Come to Lose
10. Things We Love
11. Dead Inside (CD and Digital Exclusive Bonus Track)
Lineup:
Erik Mårtensson - Vocals
Magnus Henriksson - Guitars
Philip Crusner - Drums
Victor Crusner – Bass
Record Label: Frontiers Music SRL
     


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Edited 25 January 2022
 

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