Eclipse – Megalomanium (Frontiers Music)Monday, 4th September 2023
When it comes to current melodic hard rock/heavy metal that’s making a monumental impact across the globe, it’s hard not to notice the steady quality of discography from Swedish band Eclipse. Focused songwriting that engages all senses due to undeniable catchy melodies plus a ton of hooks hitting from all directions, the quartet stride confidently into their ninth studio record with Megalomanium. Serving the listeners another eleven tracks of infectious arrangements that channel decades of influences into material that’s bouncy, emotionally charged, and a reminder that the ink isn’t quite dry on keeping this subgenre alive.
Generational folk/cultural musical melodies penetrate specific songs like “Anthem” or “Forgiven” that tantalize the hairs to stand on edge, the multi-part vocal harmonies inviting a larger choir movement from the audience back to the stage while the latter contains some quick hitting, shred-oriented lead break action worthy of praise. The additional modern rock aspects to “Got It!” give off a bit of Foo Fighters charm, although the smooth chorus rivals a mix of Kissin’ Dynamite plus classic Def Leppard, the extra female sarcastic quip an aural surprise while the throwback lead keeps the mood very positive throughout the arrangement. The blend of acoustic/electric instrumentation during “Hearts Collide” also encourages calmer verses to build into these explosive, higher register choruses – the rhythm section groove propelling the guitar parts to arena-rock level magic. It’s not as easy as it seems to keep the songs flowing with diverse tempos in a radio-friendly format – Eclipse excels at going for the right main chord progression, hitting all the right transitional moments, and keeping the vocal melodies at the perfect register for wide appreciation (or participation). Favorites change by the day – the side shuffling groove-laden “So Long Farewell Goodbye” that has a very fluid, ripping metallic solo as well as aforementioned Swedish folk-tinged meets Slade/Queen-like “Anthem” have this scribe grinning ear to ear through every pass.
If you have lost track of the melodic hard rock/metal genre, Megalomanium should give you a perfect primer on the vitality of European artists like Eclipse that deserve a fervent, faithful following because their organic, authentic approach touches the head, heart, and soul.