Thursday, March 9, 2017

Album Review: Eclipse - Monumentum

Every now and again, the world of rock needs to be reminded that there isn't much better than having a band with sing-along songs that can bring a crowd to their feet for an entire set. 'True' rockers scoff at bands like Bon Jovi, but there's a reason why he has been so successful over the years; plenty of people want rock and roll to be fun. Eclipse is the latest band trying to kick rock in the ass and get it moving in the right direction again. Their last album won heaps of acclaim, and while it was very good, it was lead man Erik Martensson's side project Nordic Union that perfected the craft. Big, pop-laden melodies meshing with heavy guitars. It's like peanut butter and chocolate, except that the allergy 'true' rockers have is entirely a delusion of their own minds.

I'm completely in the dark as to how anyone who likes rock can listen to "Vertigo" and not be drawn in. The riff is heavy and chunky, and the chorus is so slick it's to die for. If there's a better formula for mixing pop and hard rock, I haven't found it. Martensson says "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," describing this album as "one giant fist". That it is.

As you could guess from their trend of making up their own cheesy words to use as album titles, Eclipse wants their music to be the soundtrack to the best moments of your life. Even compared to their previous album, "Monumentum" is a more focused killing machine delivering the big hooks more efficiently to your bloodstream. The band's songwriting uses music like a drug, trimming away a little bit on each outing to make the hit stronger.

If you're a fan of any sort of melodic rock, there isn't much to say about "Monumentum" that isn't a dozen different ways of telling you this album is as close to pop/rock perfection as you can get. It's that energetic, uplifting kind of rock that you're going to find yourself singing in random moments when you weren't even thinking about this record. Eclipse has been on this trajectory, but they've honed their songwriting enough that they've managed to top themselves (though I don't think they topped Nordic Union).

But my job is to be a critic, so I'll also mention the one area where the album has a slight stumble. A few of the riffs and melodies are beginning to feel familiar, particularly "Killing Me". I feel like I've heard Martensson write that song before. It's still great, but it pulls me out of the experience just enough that I made note of it.

If that's the only criticism I can throw out there, that should tell you what you need to know. Erik Martensson is a heck of a songwriter, and Eclipse is still getting better as a band. "Monumentum" is exactly the kind of addictive rock I love, and it's sure to go down as one of the best records of the year. I just hope Martensson takes heed of someone else who went down the path of being a mercenary writer. Magnus Karlsson burned through so many songs on so many projects that didn't generate buzz that he has noticeably waned. I don't want to see that happen to Martensson. If he can focus all his attention on Eclipse, given how great "Monumentum" is, he can build this band into something truly special.

No comments:

Post a Comment