Released: 2012, Frontiers Records
Sweden’s hard rockers Eclipse has been around for a decade now, BLEED & SCREAM, the band’s third for Frontiers Records, is their fourth release, and after one listen, it’s clear why these guys are so respected in hard rock circles. But before we get to that, I want to acknowledge the fact that main men Erik Martenssom and Magnus Henriksson were involved in the W.E.T. project back in 2009, working with Jeff Scott Soto. W.E.T. was a great album, featuring a ton of high-quality songs. Well, this album is even better!
Packed full of powerful vocals, hooks, memorable choruses, and heavy guitars, BLEED & SCREAM is an instantly catchy album. Aside from a couple of missteps in the form of ballads “A Bitter Taste” and “About to Break”, this is all A+ material. Martenssom’s vocals and melodies are the first thing that I noticed, which isn’t surprising given that he’s got a clear, powerful voice that is perfect for this kind of music. Not to be outdone, his writing partner Henriksson makes sure the songs stay heavy, his riffs and commanding solos keeping this from ever getting to sappy. Drummer Robban Back keeps things moving, and while he doesn’t exactly put on a drum clinic, he gives the songs the backbone they need.
Aside from the two clunkers I mentioned before, every song is superb, but my favorite has got to be the insanely catchy and thunderous finale, “After the End of the World”, a song that redefines going out with bang. Another highlight is the power metal-styled speed of “Take Back the Fear”.
There have been a ton of excellent hard rock albums released this year, but BLEED & SCREAM tops them all. Not to be missed.