Saturday, 21 February 2015

Eclipse - Armageddonize - Review

I've felt the anticipation for Armageddonize building and building when I first heard that it was in the works for early 2015. As far as I'm concerned main songwriter and lead singer Erik Martensson can do very little wrong when it comes to hard hitting melodic rock. The last Eclipse album, Bleed and Scream was a complete monster of a record with no let up. To say this band don't do fillers would be doing them an injustice. I'll say it in a positive way - they only do ball busting, mountain moving, sky scraping anthems!

An EPK was released on youtube which hinted at the glory contained within the new disk with both Erik and guitarist Magnus indicating that they felt this was their best work to date and jam packed with melodies and heaviness. Magnus said that it was heavy as possible for straight rock whilst more melodic than ever. Boy was he ever right! I had high hopes for this disk of course and to be honest they have almost been surpassed. I never thought they could possibly top Bleed and Scream but by Jove they've come perilously close if not done it by a smidgen. This band just gets better and better with every note sang by Erik and every guitar riff and lick by Magnus bursting with pure energy all wrapped up in a fat juicy production providing pure ear candy.

This is an in depth review so I will rank each song separately in the next section.

I Don't Wanna Say I'm Sorry - Any Eclipse album has to have an incendiary start and this bad boy ain't no back burner! The opening riff near takes your face off with its mean and burning riff before Erik takes over with his tales of love gone wrong which seems to be quite a theme in Eclipse songs. The chorus is melodic as hell and is easy to pick up on and you'll be singing as you're air guitaring in seconds. The solo is understated and perfect from Magnus before the song soars headlong to a smooth conclusion with some nice woaah woahs to end. A brilliant start 9/10

Stand On Your Feet - After the opening chords - Woah - a stomping monster heavy opening riff bursts out of the speakers. One of the heaviest Eclipse riffs ever! Totally awesome and then here's Erik with one of his most impassioned vocals about believing in yourself after you've hit rock bottom. A chorus so brilliant and heartfelt with melodies to die for and riffs that pound like all hell. Eclipse in a nutshell. 10/10

The Storm - Starts off acoustically before Erik comes calling in with the line "This is an emergency..." giving you a small inkling to the hookline of the chorus. The song's first verse is so melodic it's almost unbearable and then that famiuliar this is an emergency hook reappears with other plaintive lyrics with a melody so sublime you can hardly believe he came up with it. A mid paced pounder of a song but totally incredible in my eyes. 10/10

Blood Enemies - This bruiser of a song starts off with a gorgeous, soaring lead solo and keys backing before all hell breaks loose with a grinding rock and roll type of riff and Erik screaming "Holy Mother" like his life depends on it and then repeating the chorus hookline Blood of the enemy a touch later. The melodies build up on one another like bricks and you just lose track of parts that you love. The lead solo returns for an awesome re-run a touch later whilst Erik rounds the song off with his awesome vocals. I can't find fault. 10/10

Wide Open - Surely you'd think they'll take a breather now and slow the pace or throw in a power ballad but not quite. Wide Open kicks in with pounding riffs and Erik's usual first verse magic blows you away before a more sedate chorus comes and the melody chills your spine like you won't believe. The "wide open, wide open" line is one you'll be humming in your sleep let me tell you. I marvel at Erik's ability to come up with choruses that are instantly memorable and Wide Open is no different. 9/10

Live Like I'm Dying - Finally a power ballad. It had to come after the intensity of the first five songs. However don't think that this song isn't intense in it's own right. Erik's vocals plead and yearn for breath like he's being emotionally drenched from his soul. The guy surely knows how to deliver an angst ridden vocal. The chorus is once again very memorable and you feel the passion seeping through every note. Personally not my fave type of song but every Eclipse album has a couple or one. The solo is tremendous though. 8/10

Breakdown - A slight departure for Eclipse going into bluesy Whitesnake territory. Erik does his best Americanised vocal stylings with a bluesy acoustic guitar for backing before a thunderous guitar riff breaks it up and the chorus is a catchy little ditty with Erik pleading humanities constant battles in life and facing breakdowns. This song reminds me of the recent H.E.A.T album which had a similar flavour. A nice chorus but not my fave song on the album by far, but it will have it's fans for sure. 7/10

Love Bites - Oh yeah back to fast paced riff mongering and attitude galore. I've said it before and I'll have to say it again Erik grabs you by the balls from the first syllable he utters. The first verse is chock full of melody already and then you get that oh so familiar Eclipsized rasp "Love Bites!!" chorus thundering into view with Erik sounding meaner than all hell. The solo that turns up towards shred like Yngwie but is far too short. It's all about the song with Eclipse not showing off musical skills. The song is all about energy, power and melody encapsulating the Eclipse sound to the full. 10/10

Caught Up In the Rush - A mid paced pounding riff before I'm repeating myself again. The first verse grabs you by the proverbials again and we're off into joyous melodic Eclipseland yet again. The song pounds a long with another juicy chorus with some nice backing lines to spice things up a little. Once again a very short and tasty solo from Magnus towards the end of this 3 minute gem. Im running out of superlatives now.. 9/10

One Life - My Life - I knew this was going to be a huge song from the title alone before I heard the song. The first verse is quiet before Erik's melodies fully kick into gear and the soaring One Life- My Life hook drags you kicking and screaming along with it's monster anthemic feel. A song to play loud and punch the air to. The Brilliance and simplicity captures the heart and sends your head spinning round and round. Another gorgeous Magnus solo at the end of course. 9/10

All Died Young - Surely you go out with a bang and yes they didn't let me down. Possibly the heaviest song on the album with the opening riff sounding almost power metal heavy before Erik does what he's been doing all album long. Kicking ass! The chorus thunders out with a singable melody and a mystical look at living life too fast and biting the dust. This song somehow reminds me of recent Helloween believe it or not though much more concise with all the fat trimmed off. Only the short length stops me from giving this a final 10/10 as I would've liked a more epic track to end on but as far as melody and heaviness goes it's up there on this masterpiece of an album. 9/10

The bonus track is an acoustic version of The Storm which is very good and sang with great emotion by Erik. Not as good as the electric but it's nice. Would've preferred an all jamming Eclipse monster but I'll get over it!

My final words for this album: Entering with expectations set to maximum and leaving astounded! Bleed and Scream was already unreal but this is one of the best melodic rock albums recorded in modern times. I really don't how they can ever top this. Have a good try though!

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