The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

JOURNEY

ECLIPSE

 

Frontiers Records

Released 2011

 

 

It’s no often you hear albums this beautifully realized today and even rarer that a band that has been around this long can put out a record of such amazing power and feeling. What we have here is probably one of the best of Journey’s long career.

 

First of all I’ll put my hands up to never having been the greatest of Journey fans; to be honest I just found them a bit perms and ‘permasmiles’ for much of the seventies and eighties. Sure they were full of great talent but it was all a bit ‘light-on’ for these ears. It was only really when I checked out the  Augeri release – Generations that I gave them a second thought and even though that was never the best of albums, when Revelation hit I lapped up the Wal-Mart 2CD, 1DVD package and new singer Arnel Pineda impressed immediately. The re-recorded greatest hits part of the package I loved and the DVD sealed the deal, but on some levels it was still the same old Journey.

 

ECLIPSE is different. It’s darker somehow. It’s more epic and it’s definitely more Schon and even though I confessed earlier to not particularly being a Journey fan, I’ve always been a huge Neal Schon fan, whether it be solo, the first Hardline album (sheer class) or just about anything else he’s had a hand in.

 

Things start off well enough with the very nice if rather expected ‘City of Hope’ but it’s as you get into the real meat of the album that things move to a whole other level.

 

I have only one real rule of reviewing that I adhere to and that is to never read another review first before I write mine and even though I may glance at the ratings to see how something is received generally it’s often deceptive. I see high ratings from the melodic rock press and pretty dismissive ones from the ‘serious’ press like the UK newspaper The Guardian. Though to actually see reviews in papers like that is a sign of Journey’s Glee-led resurgence. I’m still surmising at the moment but I doubt that either side of the fence are that balanced.

 

Here is an album of depth and class and some strangely long compositions. The main song-writing axis of Schon/Cain seems to have really hit the nail firmly on the head.  Second track ‘Edge of the Moment’ is an early highlight with a lovely guitar refrain; it’s a powerfully melodic hard rock outing. Journey has finally delivered the rock album that Schon has been promising for some time now!

 

There’s so much to love here. ‘Chain of Love’s’ delicate piano intro surges into one of Schon’s heaviest riffs ever to make a Journey release. Dark, brooding, melodic and elegant in equal measure!

 

Highlights for me have to be the majestic ‘Tantra’ with its simply piano and beautiful vocal; it’s a sweeping ballad with spiritual lyrics that hits all the right chord progressions to make you reach for the lighter to hold aloft. Songs like ‘Anything is Possible’ and ‘Let Someone Love You’ are perhaps more traditional Journey but are all built to melodic perfection, that exceeds most safety standards! ‘Resonate’ is founded upon some astounding guitar from Schon; and ‘She’s a Mystery’ is drenched with acoustic soulful sweetness that comes as quite a departure before it hits some real hard rock.

 

Late on too there’s no slackers: ‘Human Feel’ has a huge riff and drums powering on a soulful vocal from Arnel; and ‘Ritual’ is a great rocker punctuated by great keys and crowned with a killer chorus. 


‘To Whom it May Concern’ again turns to a spiritual theme for its sweeping lyric: it’s a wonderful sweeping song that catches you up in the haunting guitar.  So much to like at the moment it’s the closing pair ‘Let Someone Love You’ and instrumental ‘Venus’ that are stuck in my head, but tomorrow I know it will be something else: enjoy!

 

Most impressive of all is that fact that this old dog has decided to not take the path most traveled. Journey has decided not to fall back on what could have been a nice ‘safe’ album and really pushed the envelope. There are no passengers either with everything from the backline to the vocals impressive. Live this will be astounding…       

 

By Mark Diggins