Melodic Rock Round-up: September 2012

Dave Ling on new releases from Eclipse, Hess, Bonrud, Loverboy and Lionheart

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Eclipse: Bleed & Scream

Vocalist Erik Mårtensson’s stock has risen steadily since the release of Eclipse’s Are You Ready To Rock album four years ago. Mårtensson was (and remains) a member of the melodic rock all-star combo WET, and his compositional skills have also graced albums by the likes of Giant, Jimi Jamison & Bobby Kimball, Pride Of Lions’s Toby Hitchcock, Issa, First Signal and Shining Line. The man is on a creative roll – a fact that Bleed & Scream rams home. Based on a kick-ass riff and sweetened by Mårtensson’s stunningly accessible, ozone-threatening voice, its opening track Wake Me Up is so darned magnificent that it could have appeared on Unruly Child’s iconic self-titled debut. The entrancing keys of Johan Berlin and Magnus Henriksson’s screaming guitar contribute to the ingenious arrangements and, as demonstrated by Ain’t Dead Yet, Falling Down and Battlegrounds, Eclipse are capable of rocking out alongside the very best, though their love of a Grade A chorus elevates the band’s oeuvre into something very special. As far as Scandi-AOR goes, this is almost unbeatable. (810)

Hess: Living In Yesterday

Harry Hess is fondly remembered for a lengthy career fronting Harem Scarem, who broke up in 2008. Featuring his Scarem band-mates Pete Lesperance and Creighton Doane, Living In Yesterday does an excellent job of tapping back into the Canadian band’s latter-day vibe, with the Def Leppard-like It’s Over being just one of several standout moments. (810)

Bonrud: Save Tomorrow

Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Paul Bonrud has kept us waiting eight years for a follow-up to Bonrud (the band’s) well-liked debut album. Grammy winner Keith Olsen once again oversees the production on Save Tomorrow, though the remarkable voice of newcomer Rick ‘Four octave’ Forsgren is another pivotal element behind the success of this hard-rock gem. (810)

Loverboy: Rock ’N’ Roll Revival

A collection that combines newies and re-recorded catalogue material, Rock ’N’ Roll Revival represents a patchy return for these Canadian veterans. The freshly minted tracks aren’t the problem here – No Tomorrow and Heartbreaker were penned and produced by Bob Rock – it’s just that some of Loverboy’s reworkings lack the sparkle and joy of the originals. (610)

Lionheart: Hot Tonight

Touted originally as a NWOBHM supergroup, Lionheart’s one and only album was first released back in 1985. Now remastered, its swoon-inducing mix of commanding lead vocals, soaring harmonies, intelligent hooklines and an occasional touch of pomp-rock (see Towers Of Silver) suggest that this band should have gone far, far further than they actually did. (910)

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.