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Review: Eclipse – ‘Monumentum’

Eclipse vocalist Erik Martensson sums it up best by saying.. “When I go and see a band I just want to hear songs that make me wanna put my fist in the air and scream along, and I want everyone around me to do the same. Well, ‘Monumentum’ is one giant fist waiting for a chanting crowd of rockers. We can’t wait for the people to hear it!”… My job here is done! There’s nothing more to be added to the statement from one of the shining lights in the melodic hard rock scene. For the sake of not being called a lazy shyster by the boss, I’ll put in my two cents worth. The album is the musical equivalent of Harvey Keitel in the scene in Pulp Fiction where he is handed a cup of coffee from Tarantino, turns away, takes a sip, stops, then turns back with a massive grin on his face before uttering “mmmmm”. That knowing look of “Yeah, this is good shit”. Why spend time trailing through a thesaurus looking for elaborate ways to describe the album when “Yeah, this is good shit” will do? Hell, Aerosmith think the same. They’ve picked Eclipse to open for them this summer in Spain. Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, and Eclipse… sort of rolls off the tongue that one. Lucky Spain, indeed.

So what do you get for your hard earned money with ‘Monumentum’? No drastic changes in style since last studio album ‘Armageddonize’, no Biffy-style changes mid song. Pure, simple, delicious, melodic hard rock, played the way that the gods of rock intended… loud. Lest we forget, Eclipse are Swedish, after all. They come out the womb in tight black leather trousers and with a massive melody already written! Opening track, ‘Vertigo’, kicks the doors in without even knocking. It’s all about the guitars on this one, as Magnus Henriksson puts down a marker early on. It rattles along at a fair old pace with a great driving drum sound from Philip Crusner. Perfect fists in the air opening track. No time to hang about. as Eclipse steamroller straight into ‘Never Look Back’, an über-catchy few minutes. ‘Killing Me’ comes in with a keyboard-heavy intro, before settling into a fat bass groove from Magnus Ulfstedt. Again, ultra catchy, but the guitars help raise it to another level. Martensson could sing the phonebook and make it heartfelt. When he sings “Is it killing you like it’s killing me?” you believe that dude is hurting. Likewise, ‘Hurt’ is another tearjerker, one of many ‘best-song-that-BonJovi-never-wrote’ moments on the album.

‘Jaded’ is another highlight. Very Journey-esque in its execution, the intro is pure Neal Schon, and it’s a testimony to the AOR giants that they are still influencing bands decades later. ‘Born To Lead’, ‘For Better Or For Worse’ and ‘No Way Back’ are uptempo rockers with guitars that bite, especially the searing solo on the latter, which proves that bands don’t need to ditch the guitars as so many melodic bands do. Closing track, ‘Black Rain’ is perhaps the heaviest on ‘Monumentum’. The gentle intro leads into a skull crushing drum sound, complete with heavy, atmospheric keyboards in the background. The following five minutes are a tour de force in hard rock, big ass bass, shredding guitars, and hooks to die for. When Martensson spoke of ‘Monumentum’ as “one giant fist”, he was referring to ‘Black Rain’ in particular. At times echoes of Led Zeppelin can heard. The pounding drums, especially, recall Bonzo. Possibly edging into the lead as favourite track on the album? That changes with each listen.

Eclipse are deserving of playing on that big stage in Madrid, warming up the crowd for Alter Bridge then Aerosmith. The old guard passing the torch to the young guns, with the young Swedes standing in the wings taking notes. They deserve every plaudit coming their way… unlike Harvey Keitel, who needs a kick in the jigglies for those god-awful car insurance adverts.

Available March 24th through Frontiers Music, Eclipse are on tour throughout Europe in April.

Review: Dave Stott

 

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