Album Review: Eclipse – “Armageddonize”
Armageddonize is an interesting album from the outset, and from the first track I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry, Eclipse show they have a real mastery of big power chords, synthy keyboards, and high pitched vocals. Technically, they are a very accomplished band.
However, if you had to categorize Eclipse, you would likely have them marked down as cheesy Hair Metal. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but in the modern age we live in with successful parody acts like Steel Panther able to thrive by mocking this genre of music, seeing a band conforming to the hallmarks of this anachronistic relic of a musical style is almost painful.
At points on Armageddonize, such as during tracks like Live Like I’m Dying and One Life – My Life, it’s really hard to tell whether Eclipse are playing with their tongue firmly placed within their collective cheek, or whether they are deadly serious. You have to hope it’s the former, and they are aware that they are making music that wouldn’t be out of place on a Survivor album.
I don’t wish to be entirely negative, and it would be foolhardy to not acknowledge the positives to be found on this record. While it may be drenched in the scent of the often maligned Hair Metal genre, if you can get past that initial layer of cheese, there are some catchy hooks to be found, particularly evident on Blood Enemies and Love Bites. They are very 80s in their style, but both tracks are veritable earworms, no matter how cheesy.
Singer Erik Mårtensson has a fantastic range as a vocalist, and clearly envelopes himself in the song, his warblings and growlings full of passion and dedication, something which really comes through the speakers, and is frankly very endearing. Guitarist Magnus Henriksson provides some excellent solos throughout, providing screeching riffs and complex harmonies which both mesh and contrast with Mårtensson’s vocals seamlessly throughout the album.
In the end, Eclipse are something of an acquired taste, incorporating a high energy up tempo sound with big guitars, big vocals (and without seeing a picture of the band I can’t verify this, but I assume, even bigger hair). I was surprised how much the album grew on me over the course of a few listens, and it’s certainly technically very good. However, overall Armageddonize is a mostly clichéd affair, in an outdated genre that will have a fairly narrow appeal. One for hair metal enthusiasts, rather than the casual fan.