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Journey: Eclipse

Anyone who thinks that the current version of Journey is just merely an overblown tribute & nostalgia act is simply just not 'getting it' nor paying attention to the excellent new music this outfit has been creating the last few years. Filipino singer Arnel Pineda has injected new life into the legendary band, as evident by their successful 2008 release Revelation, and the creativity has continued here on the latest CD Eclipse.

It's pretty apparent from the opening track "City of Hope" that this is going to be a more guitar based album, as this track is bursting with Neal Schon's guitar licks & riffs as well as those soaring melodies we have come to love from this band. "Edge of the Moment" is another thunderous rocker, though much darker, with Pineda's strong vocal supported by Schon's intricate fills and crunchy riffs. On "Chain of Love", things start off as if the song is going to go down lovely ballad road, with gentle keyboards from Jonathan Cain and Pineda's soft crooning, but then Schon comes in with some heavy riffs as the song takes a turn into majestic progressive metal territory. The lovely "Tantra" is the first view of a radio ballad that all the female fans will certainly be looking for, as Arnel's Steve Perry influenced vocals soar to the heavens over sumptuous keyboards and sizzling guitar work.

Solid pop-rock can be heard on "Anything is Possible", while "Resonate" is another gritty, dark rocker, with Deen Castronovo's powerful drum fills driving Schon & Pineda to new heights. "She's a Mystery" starts off as an acoustic based ballad, before the band come crashing into the mix, turning into a headbanging rocker that features Schon's lightning wah-wah drenched solos. Castronovo and bassist Ross Valory propel the groove laden rocker "Human Feel", another song here with great hooks, and "Ritual" has FM radio written all over it, perfectly falling in line with the '80's Journey style' that we've always come to know from this band. "To Whom it May Concern" is a piano led ballad, the requisite 'tear jerker' on the CD, which gives listeners a break from the more upbeat and heavy rockers, and it gives way to the fun "Someone", a real 'get up on your feet with your fist in the air and sing your heart out' kind of song. Hooks aplenty on this one, and more of those beefy Schon guitar riffs. The CD ends with the sizzling instrumental "Venus", another vehicle for Schon's stellar guitar solos, showing again why he is one of the most talented and unique players around.

There you have it, another winner from Journey. Whether it goes on to sell millions in this 'greatest hits' society we live in is pointless, but the fact that this veteran band, who really have nothing to prove anymore, can still create music this powerful and memorable nearly 40 years into their career, is something to get excited about.

Track Listing
1. "City of Hope" 6:02
2. "Edge of the Moment" 5:27
3. "Chain of Love" 6:10
4. "Tantra" 6:27
5. "Anything Is Possible" 5:21
6. "Resonate" 5:11
7. "She's a Mystery" 6:41
8. "Human Feel" 6:44
9. "Ritual" 4:57
10. "To Whom It May Concern" 5:15
11. "Someone" 4:35
12. "Venus" (Instrumental) 3:34

Added: June 29th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3316
Language: english

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Journey: Eclipse
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-28 22:57:06
My Score:

After hitting platinum with their last album Revelation, their first effort with vocalist Arnel Pineda, Journey could have easily gone back to the drawing board and stuck to the same formula for their follow up Eclipse. Instead guitarist and band leader Neal Schon opted to change things up a bit, throwing a wrench into the band's top 40 AOR sound by toughening things up and writing a more guitar orientated album. This harder approach is felt right from the onset with the sizzling one two punch of "City Of Hope" and "Edge Of The Moment", as both contain heaping amounts of Schon's trademark, guitar fueled pyrotechnics, layered over-top Pineda's soaring vocals. These two over the top tracks, along with "Resonate", the straight ahead rocker "Ritual" and the tribal groove of "Human Feel", set the tone for the rest of the album, in what is quite possibly the heaviest sounding Journey record since Frontiers. The band does 'lighten' things up a bit in couple of places namely on "Tantra" and "To Whom It May Concern, but for the most part Eclipse is driven into overdrive by Schon's majestic guitar work. The only problem here and it is a significant one, is that for all of its innate heaviness, the bands core songwriting team of Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, came up with over an hour's worth of material that is surprisingly devoid of any killer hooks and melodies. As any Journey fan knows, these are absolutely essential ingredients that are key to the band's sound, but unfortunately too much of Eclipse comes across as bloated, often bordering on self indulgent, for which Schon is the main culprit. I do appreciate the fact that they opted to go in a heavier direction and I've always considered Schon to be an underrated guitar player, so it is refreshing to hear him spreading his wings a bit more here, I just wish they would have trimmed off some of the excess fat if you know what I mean. Out of everyone Pineda is the one who suffers the most from the band dropping the ball, because at the end of the day they failed to give him any killer material to sink his teeth into. This is a shame because you get the feeling that the talented front man is now beginning to find his own identity within the band, slowing putting some distance between being recognized as more than just a Steve Perry sound alike.

Eclipse is hardly a total right off, but in the end it does come across as merely being a 'so-so' addition to the band's catalog. While Eclipse isn't a radical left turn for Journey, I can certainly see this album generating some debate amongst the band's dedicated fan base.

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