Review by Woody
It’s been four years since their last album but finally the increasingly popular melodic rockers Eclipse return with their latest album Bleed & Scream. These Swedes are lead by the driving force of vocalist Erik Martensson and guitarist Magnus Henriksson; they are joined by drummer Robban Back and Keyboardist Johan Berlin.
I’ve always been a fan of the band ever since their promising debut The Truth….and a Little More was released way back in 2001. With every album they have improved and again they seem to have delivered their best album yet in many ways – less raw than before, they seem to have a more polished and produced sound. That raw rambunctious youthful attitude displayed so vigorously on their last album is still present, but there is more emphasis here on polishing the edges to make it feel more ‘melodic’ – soaring harmonies, big choruses and a big dose of keyboard infused goodness.
Bleed & Scream delivers a solid album of hard edged melodic rock, its brash and energetic. It has melodies to die for with a head banging, fist pumping, crunching guitar and rhythm section accompaniment. Those who crave something a little harder and musically powerful yet intensely melodic will lap up this release with relish. The songs may pack more punch than your average melodic rock band but there’s still more sing along songs here than you can shake a shitty stick at and I suspect if we are lucky enough to witness the band live again there will be an outbreak of sore throats the following day.
My only criticism of the album would lie in the lyrics, if I’m honest Martensson’s lyrics have never really impressed me, I don’t know why but in the most part I just can’t seem to connect to them and sometimes this means a song loses its impact. There is no doubting Martensson knows how to write a killer melodic rock song with jaw dropping melodies and impressive and memorable vocals, but that lack of connectivity with the lyrics sometimes lets it down a bit. I think his lyric writing is improving and there are few songs here and in the past that hit the mark, he just needs to improve the consistency in future.
Album opener ‘Wake Me Up’ may not appeal to everyone lyrically with its outlook on organised religions, but I totally agree with the sentiment of the song. ‘Bleed and Scream’ is perfection; I really dig the power and passion behind this song and is lyrically one of the band’s better offerings. ‘Ain’t Dead Yet’ is a thunderous rocker with pounding drums and bass, a real head banger with some great harmonies and choral effects. Henriksson delivers an outstanding guitar solo and the sound of the song borders on symphonic metal.
‘Battlegrounds’ is Eclipse does Classic Rock – it has a Thin Lizzy vibe especially with the Celtic overtones. The song has a great swagger and energy with a huge and atmospheric chorus I suspect will be immense live!
‘A Bitter Taste’ has an Aerosmith ballad feel to it albeit it heavier in parts. Powerful and atmospheric complete with a choral harmonic climax before it blurs into an instrumental which is very heavy in comparison to the song before it. Energetic rocker ‘Falling Down’ follows with some great guitar licks and a compelling chorus.
The cracking ‘S.O.S’ is almost symphonic metal, containing monumental guitar riffs and wonderfully lush vocal melodies from Martensson. I adore the chorus on this one a very powerful and memorable song. ‘Take Back The Fear’ is a pounding rocker with an almost metallic feel and has an insistent shout it out loud chorus. If ‘The Unspoken Heroes’ isn’t a Whitesnake influenced rocker I don’t know what is! Blues tinged melodic rock with a cool harmony enhanced chorus.
‘About To Break’ is a good old traditional power ballad that I’m sure this will go down a treat with fans of old school rock ballads that build to a lighter waving sing along chorus. ‘After The World Ends’ is a storming rocker with a grab your air guitar riff. I love the underlying keyboards that litter this tune. This is the sort of thing you’d expect from early Talisman.
This is hard edged melodic rock that packs a wallop with crunching guitar riffs and stunning vocals, which make it a great slice of melodic rock heaven. Bleed & Scream contains wall to wall huge choruses filled to the brim with melodic goodness. Say what you will about Eclipse but they really know how to hit the musical g-spot. A damn fine example of melodic rock done right in 2012!
9 out of 10
- Wake Me Up
- Bleed and Scream
- Ain’t Dead Yet
- A Bitter Taste
- Falling Down
- Take Back The Fear
- The Unspoken Heroes
- About To Break
- After The End Of The World