Eclipse: Armadeddonize review

On top of being the main songwriter and producer for Swedish melodic rockers Eclipse, Erik Martensson has worked with W.E.T. (His side project with world renowned singer Jeff Scott Soto and Robert Sall of Work of Art), Adrenaline Rush, Dalton, Jim Jamison, Giant, Toby Hitchcock and countless others, making him one of the most sought after producers/songwriters in the business today.

Even with his busy schedule Martensson has found time to ready Eclipse’s highly anticipated fifth studio album since forming in 1999 on Frontiers Records entitled Armageddonize. The album is the follow-up to 2012’s critically acclaimed Bleed & Scream and their monster breakout smash Are You Ready to Rock from 2008.

Armageddonize comes out swinging for the fences. The frenzied riffs and soaring choruses on tracks like opener “Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry” and “One Life-My Life” immediately draws the listener in and are instant homeruns.

Elsewhere, the alluring hooks, syncopated grooves and visceral vocals on lead single and video “Stand on Your Feet” and “Caught Up In the Rush” create and enormous wall of sound that packs a massive punch, while at the same time “Live Like I’m Dying” serves as the quintessential example of what a truly great power ballad can be. Steve Perry would be proud.

Speaking of Perry, “Wide Open” and “All Died Young” mix subtle element of classic Journey with the modern textures of Primal Fear, Pretty Maids and hints of Nightwish to create a couple of the album’s true standout highlights.

Meanwhile, the shredding guitar in the intro of “Blood Enemies” sets the tone for the breathtaking choral harmonies in the mesmerizing chorus and “The Storm” and “Love Bites” are infectiously hypnotic pieces of cleverly crafted AOR.

To show there nothing beyond their unlimited musical reach “Breakdown” is a can’t afford to miss, good time, rockabilly romp reminiscent of Blue Murder’s “Jelly Roll” that smashes preconceptions and limitations into oblivion.

Here’s the bottom line- Martensson and his partners in crime guitarist Magnus Henriksson, bassist Magnus Ulfstedt and drummer Robban Back are at the very top of their game and Armageddonize somehow manages to surpass it’s utterly brilliant predecessors in every way.

Rating: 9/10

-Eric Hunker