Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Erik Martenssom – Bleeding vocals, guitar & bass
Magnus Henriksson – Screaming lead guitar
Robban Bäck – Roaring drums
Johan Berlin – Epic synthesisers
Wake Me Up
Bleed And Scream
Ain’t Dead Yet
A Bitter Taste
Take Back The Fear
The Unspoken Heroes
About To Break
After The End Of The World
It’s been four long years since ECLIPSE shook the melodic rock world with their epic 2008 release ARE YOU READY TO ROCK, an album that is still lauded to this day as a true high point of modern day melodic rock. Well, I’m sure I won’t be the only one to declare that is has been worth the wait because BLEED AND SCREAM is even better than its predecessor! The vast majority of Melodic Rock/AOR fans aren’t too picky… Originality and progression are less important than most other genres, less-than stellar production is often forgiven and it doesn’t even matter that a lot of the bigger albums in the genre are all written and created by the same team of regulars. Mainly fans of this style of music just want a vocalist that can sing with as much skill and heart as yesterday’s heroes. ECLIPSE have that element without a worry. You can have all of the musical ability and songwriting prowess in the world, but if you have a Melodic Rock/AOR band fronted by an average vocalist then you’re just another bunch of hacks paying tribute to a bygone era.
Not too take anything away from the rest of the band, as musically this album smokes it’s ass off and is filled with some of the best songwriting Frontiers Records have released this year, but vocalist Erik Martensson really is a monster behind the microphone. Some of you will surely be familiar with his work as a part of AOR supergroup W.E.T, but BLEED AND SCREAM is his most impressive performance yet and should definitely see him placed in the upper tier of today’s rock singers.
I’m loathe to call the album ‘heavy’, as at its base it’s a straightforward Melodic Rock record, but it definitely has it’s harder-edged moments with the occasional Melodic Metal inspired riff work rearing its head for all to see. There are a lot of bands you could use as comparisons here but I think the best way to describe the sound of the album is a cross between eighties era EUROPE with modern day WHITESNAKE. It’s a very Scandi sound, with a modern day flair.
The album is bookended with a couple of real gems… Firstly opening track WAKE ME UP which, pardon the pun, will certainly wake you up and get you ready for what’s in store. Closing track AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD features some of the most metal-ish moments of the album and lyrically reminds me a whole lot of Europe’s big hitter THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. There’s a few treats to be found in and around the middle too with the Gary Moore-esque BATTLEGROUNDS, power ballad A BITTER TASTE, stunning Melodically massive S.O.S and the PRETTY MAIDS like UNSPOKEN HEROES.
I will voice a slight complaint however…I really have to say that I don’t at all like the choice of album title and artwork. While it’s fair to say that BLEED AND SCREAM is a little edgier than a lot of albums released in the Melodic Rock world, it’s not a metal album and shouldn’t be titled as one. And as far as skulls and flying V guitars for the artwork…once again, the album is not metal enough to warrant this choice. Definitely a small nitpick though, but just something that was one my nerves enough to feel the need to mention it. On a purely musical standpoint, ECLISPE may well have released the best album to come out of the Frontiers Records stable for 2012, a very, very impressive feat when you think about it.
Written by Zeezee