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One of the things I enjoy most about writing for Decibel Geek is discovering new bands – or at least ones that are new to me – from all over the world. Often, these bands have several other releases and are fairly popular in their country but not very well-known anywhere else. As usual, I find myself amazed that there is so much great music out there that most people don’t even know exist. When the opportunity presented itself for me to review the latest album from Eclipse, a Swedish melodic hard rock band, I was excited to hear what they had to offer.
The band’s eighth studio album, Monumentum, was released in March 2017. With power guitar riffs over a galloping beat, the opening track, “Vertigo”, sets the tone for the entire project. In my research on the band, I found this is part of their signature sound and it continues here. The driving rhythm is supplied by Philip Crusner on drums and Magnus Ulfstedt on bass. They provide the backdrop throughout the album in a magnificent way that allows their incredible guitarist Magnus Henriksson to show off his crazy chops in all the right places. And I really cannot give you just one example of his prowess as every song has multiple moments. It is fairly impossible to just pick a few songs to highlight as the entire release is stellar. “Never Look Back” has a harder edge while “Killing Me” falls closer to the classic melodic hard rock end of the spectrum. “The Downfall of Eden” dances even closer to the rock genre but presents a fresh approach from the band. What is a melodic hard rock album without a power ballad? You will find the quintessential example of that here with “Hurt”. This song showcases the beauty and power in singer Erik Martensson‘s vocals. Eclipse then heads into more familiar territory with “Jaded” returning to their signature sound. The same can be said of “Born To Lead”, “For Better Or For Worse” and “Night Comes Crawling”. Heavier than most of their music, “No Way Back” has screaming guitars and a bit of growled lyrics with a driving beat. Also on the harder side is the album closer “Black Rain”.
Monumentum is produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Martensson, who also co-wrote all the material with Henriksson. The stated goal of this album was not to compromise on either song quality or musical performance from the band. I can assure you that this target was achieved. The album is filled with fist-pumping, catchy tunes that you cannot help but sing along to as you listen. From top to bottom, this well-crafted release delivers on the promises of their previous work. This young band has been working hard since they formed in 1999 and have quickly risen to the top of their genre. At this point, their star is white hot without limits.
If you are a fan of melodic hard rock, you definitely need to buy this album. You are missing out on one of the next great bands in this type of music if you don’t. Eclipse is well-known among diehard fans of this sound but do not have much of a presence outside their slice of the world. I feel that will change as they gain momentum with Monumentum. Get on the train now so you won’t be left behind. Seriously, you will not regret investing in this album or any of their previous works. I find it hard to believe that you will not see Monumentum in many of the Top Ten of 2017 lists. I know it will be on mine.
~~ Metal Mama