Three years after their successful Revelation album introduced Arnel Pineda to the world, Journey return with their 16th album, Eclipse.
In light of the last album's success, it would not have been a surprise to see an attempt to duplicate that album, but guitarist Neal Schon took control of the writing and recording process and delivered an album out of his single minded vision, a true guitarist's record with inspired riffing, soloing and shredding.
Understand-this is still Journey, so new musical horizons are not being discovered here, but anyone expecting an album full of power ballads might be disappointed, because this album, clocking in at an hour, really kicks into guitar overdrive. Deen Castronovo's drums deliver a solid performance in perfect step with the guitar-oriented sound, using power and finesse as warranted. Although Jonathan Cain scaled back the prominent position his keyboard parts normally take, he still adds texture and additional layers to the songs. Ross Valory rounds out the rhythm section.
Arnel Pineda had a lengthy career in his own country before joining the band, but with two albums under his belt has shown power, control and passion behind his studio vocal performances.
While Revelation leaned towards ballads and more radio-friendly AOR, Eclipse is loaded with hard-edged guitars and thumping beats, fist-pumping anthems-even the ballads rock harder than usual. There are a couple "classic" Journey moments, but if you were looking for the sequel to "Raised On Radio," this ain't it. Some of the songs are unusually long for Journey, and while they may border on self-indulgent, the album seems to say, "we aren't going to get any airplay, anyway, so screw it, let's just do what the hell we want." In doing so they have delivered a pretty solid album. If you never liked the band or the genre to begin with, there is no new ground tread here, so it won't make a believer out of you. But long-time Journey fans and AOR fans alike should give it a spin.
CITY OF HOPE
SHE'S A MYSTERY