Album Reviews

Journey – Eclipse

Released By : Frontiers Records

Genre : Melodic Rock. AOR

Links : http://www.journeymusic.com/


Tracklist:

01.  City of Hope

02.  Edge of the Moment

03.  Chain of Love

04.  Tantra

05.  Anything Is Possible

06.  Resonate

07.  She’s a Mystery

08.  Human Feel

09.  Ritual

10.  To Whom It May Concern

11.  Someone

12.  Venus


It’s been a long ride for the mighty JOURNEY, and even though they have tasted more success than most, over the time they have made just as many bad decisions as good ones. Don’t believe me about the bad decisions?…How about when they tried to bring JEFF SCOTT SOTO into the mix?… Or what about the disastrous RED 13 disc? I could go on, but that will do for now though, I’d rather talk about the good stuff. One of the best decisions the band has made over the last few years was to appoint Arnel Pineda as their new vocalist, they could have had their pick of just about anybody in the entire AOR and Melodic Rock landscape, but were confident enough to go for an unknown which so far has worked out very well for them.

Jonathan Cain must have been licking his lips about the possibilities of writing songs based around the Steve Perry-like vocals of Pineda, and their entire previous album REVELATION was solely based around the radio pop style that gave them their most successful period. This was fine by me and I personally found it to be a fantastic album, if not a little fluffy here and there. But, if it’s fair to say that REVELATION had Cain’s trademark imprinted throughout, then it would also be fair to say that this new disc ECLIPSE is all about the unsung hero of the band Neal Schon. Sure he gets plenty of respect in the music world but a lot of times in JOURNEY it felt as though he was holding a lot of himself back for the greater good. Not so this time around though folks, make no mistake about it ECLIPSE is a guitar album first and a JOURNEY album second. Schon is on fire here giving us some of his best ever work and a few solos that will blow your mind. Apparently this is some sort of concept album but I haven’t been able to really get that yet. I do notice a penchant for positive messages and keeping the faith, but not is a religious kind of way…at least I don’t think so anyway. Arnel Pineda delivers another fine performance here but oddly enough sounds less like a Steve Perry clone that what he did two years ago, maybe that’s due to natural progression or maybe it’s a smart ploy by the band to give this album a unique sound. Whatever it is though, the whole band are in full-swing on this album and it’s yet another disc that is more than worthy of sitting in the JOURNEY canon.

The opening track and lead-off single CITY OF HOPE is the highlight here and is one of the best songs the band has written in twenty years. It’s also one of five songs on the album that go over the six minute mark so there’s plenty of time for some Schon magic. It’s certainly not the only great track on the album though, there are several more highlights to be found actually. CHAIN OF LOVE is certainly one worth mentioning, very chunky for a JOURNEY song and yet again some Schon magic. TANTRA starts of as a piano ballad with some excellent haunting vocalist courtesy of Pineda, but then expands into a huge sounding power ballad with Cain’s footprint stamped all over it. RESONATE is the stand-out track of the album as far as Arnel Pineda’s vocals go and has a great progressive rock feel to it. RITUAL has that classic JOURNEY feel to it and would have fitted right in on any of their eighties albums quite well. SOMEONE also has a more classic JOURNEY feel to it, but slightly updated for the modern era, it’s also the last great track of the album before the instrumental outro.

ECLIPSE is a fantastic album any way you look at it. The band have taken their trademark sound and incorporated a layer of guitar based progressive rock to it and have come up with an album that should be a real treat for both JOURNEY followers and classic rock fans equally. Neal Schon finally gets the room to breathe that he has always wanted and Arnel Pineda shows some growth….what more could you ask for? Maybe one or two more of those classic sounding Steve Perry era mega-ballads would have been a nice touch, but I guess they wouldn’t have fitted properly on this album anyway.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 8/10

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