Eclipse ‘Paradigm’ hit my promo inbox this week. I have been waiting impatiently for this to show up and dug straight into the album!
For anyone who’s followed the site for a while, you know that I’ve long been a champion of the band Eclipse, you could even say that I love this band, because I do. I own their albums, tee’s, hoodies and have been to numerous live gigs. Those who know me personally have finally caved in and listened to them just to shut me up from talking about them constantly as I try to sell them on a new band to listen to. Many have also become fans themselves.
Yet everyone once in a while, there’s an album review that I truly do not want to write and sadly this is going to be one of those times. So to have anything other than a gushing, over the top and stellar review of any of their upcoming releases personally guts me. This is the last thing I ever want to do to a band that I genuinely care for but ‘Paradigm’ just leaves a bitter taste with me.
Sadly, I do not have much positive to say about it and I feel more conflicted than I should. But I’d be lying if I said I thought this was the next great album by Eclipse. As fan of the band personally for quite sometime, I feel this album was a miss. Yes, I did just say that and I hate even saying those words, but that’s exactly how I feel. I never want to be the one telling an artist something like that, no artist wants to hear someone didn’t like their album. But I also believe that as fan who actually buys their albums, merch and concert tickets that I should have enough respect to be honest to help them understand why I didn’t like it. And to you as readers, I will give you the same thoughts about it.
So let me just jump into the fire and tell you what worked for me. First let me say that on a technical level, there’s never any argument that their ability to perform and produce is always top notch. There’s few out there who are as skilled as these guys are. So in technical ability, I will never utter a peep of disagreement.
“Mary Leigh” was the track on the album I was thrilled by. It’s got that raw edge that Eclipse is known for mixed with the perfect blend of melody. I had high hopes this would be the momentum of the rest of the album. Had there been more tracks like this, I would have a more favorable review to offer. “Blood Wants Blood” and “Delirious” were the other tracks that still somewhat felt like the band I’ve come to love.
Listen to Mary Leigh:
Call me jaded, but here’s what didn’t work for me and trust me when I say it’s killing me. I feel like Eclipse just fell flat with this album. I just feel there’s too much change to their sound. There’s this shift from an uptempo, melodic band to something darker and uninspiring. I had wondered what direction the band would take following ‘Monumentum’. There were a few tracks on that one that I really hoped wouldn’t repeat in their sound in the future, but now here…. and that sound did carry over. I was not a fan of “The Downfall of Eden” or “Hurt”, just too dark for this band and yet that’s what this new album feels like. If the band wanted some heavier spice to their sound, “Black Rain” would have been a better style of heavy to pull into their sound, but still balance it with the sound they are known for and keep that tempo and darkness to minimum.
The thing about Eclipse, they’ve always stood out and yes it took them a few albums to find the Eclipse sound. They have their sound and it’s not like everyone else out there. With this new release, they’ve accomplished joining the abyss of flavorless bands who all sound the same and don’t inspire fans to want to continue to listen to them. They may gain some new fans with this one and the superfans will love everything even if it’s bad and never tell them. But they will definitely alienate many fans in their current fanbase with this release. I don’t choose Eclipse for dark, mood or heavy tracks and this album is packed full of that minus the few I mentioned, so it does not work for me.
To start with, “Viva La Victoria”, and I am not the only one who’s been saying this, I’ve seen it all over my feed as well, is Eclipse trying to be Sabaton? Ok so Sabaton is acquired taste and I listen to them, but, there’s only one Sabaton and there’s no need for another one unless you are going full force and give them a full on metal battle for the title, otherwise steer clear from that influence in your sound. If I want to listen to Sabaton, I will just listen to them. Whether it was intentional or sheer accident their influence hit this track, it just didn’t work.
Watch Viva La Victoria:
I kind of felt the same pause with “United” as well. When the single came out I was more like, ok…. let’s see what this leads too, but I didn’t love it. And I still don’t love it, it’s just another ok track. It does however make for a great live song having seen them at Wacken Open Air and hearing this live, I can see this as a live song that unites the venue.
Now having heard the full album, it’s not even just a slight change, it’s a complete 180 of their sound on most of the tracks to what I can best say is Indie Rock, a subgenre I have a never enjoyed. To be fair, I tried listening to this album for a full day to see if it was one that would grow on me, but it’s not.
I hope this was just an album that allowed them to stretch out their artistic creativity to see what was hidden in their dark corners and that they get back to the beloved and celebrated band on the next release. I just feel like Eclipse has suddenly had an identity crisis where their sound is concerned. As for this one, I can honestly say that I won’t be buying it. Instead I’ll pick up the single tracks I liked.
I hate to see this band head this direction, because they’ve been a staple to my playlists. If this is the new status quo, they will sadly go the way of Lordi since their last album… a band that was once loved and appreciated to one that just once was. There are few bands who come back from a one off album that takes such a sharp turn in their sound, but Eclipse ain’t dead yet and I think if anyone can turn it around, it is them. So Eclipse, I am wide open for something epic to follow.
Final thoughts, as a long time fan I did not enjoy this album and I will not be adding it to my collection. I do encourage you to take a listen to it and judge for yourselves. You may dig it, you may not. If you’ve never listened to Eclipse before this album, I highly suggest you do not listen to their older works before listening to this album, you won’t get the same taste. Once you’ve heard it, then progress back through their library, this way you won’t go expecting to hear this sound in their past discography.
Viva La Victoria
Blood Wants Blood*
When The Winter Ends
.38 Or .44
Never Gonna Be Like You
Take Me Home
Erik Mårtensson – vocals, guitars
Magnus Henriksson – guitars
Philip Crusner – drums
Magnus Ulfstedt – bass
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Genre: Indie Hard Rock
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Rating: 3 of 5