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Melodic Rock/AOR
Mark Balogh

4.5 Stars

JOURNEY has just released its latest CD (and 2nd with vocalist Arnel Pineda) and it’s entitled “Eclipse”. Just like their last CD, this is a Walmart exclusive here in the States and in Europe the release will be handled by Frontiers Records.


As with every release (and move) by the band, it has already been scrutinized by the throng of fans that follow them. One thing I can say is that JOURNEY has remained committed to releasing new music. When you consider that other acts in this genre may be out touring but then only throw fans a bone in regards to new music it makes JOURNEY look beyond prolific. With acts like STYX (how many live releases do we need?) , FOREIGNER and NIGHT RANGER, who have been limited in their studio output in recent years, at least JOURNEY gets in the studio every few years and cranks out a new record. Sure, it seems they have changed singers as often as people change underwear. Actually I hope people change their underwear more than three times in thirteen years, but that’s another story…


So “Eclipse” is upon us now and I figured I’d share my thoughts on the record considering that what I do here at RockEyez. I thought I’d take a slightly different approach this time and share some brief thoughts on each track instead of the traditional review approach.


City Of Hope” – The lead off track is the one that many have heard previously as it was the featured track (ie: single) off of “Eclipse”. The song is a mid-paced rocker with nice hook and some moderately stabbing keyboard sounds from Jonathan Cain. The track turns into a bit of a shred-fest in the last minute as Neal Schon takes over. One thing you will get on this record is a lot of guitars. Schon seems to be on a mission here and that’s fine by me.


Edge Of The Moment” – The song is a moody and epic rocker and Pineda shines on this one. You really get the feeling that Arnel has settled in a bit as his vocals have more of his own style this time around instead of trying to impersonate Steve Perry. No matter how you view the bands choice of singers post Perry that is a good thing. Schon provides a cool guitar riff that runs through the song also. Again the chorus is one that is strong and it gets better with each listen.


Chain Of Love” – This is another epic monster in the making as the song starts with a dream-like feel and transforms into a big hard rocking track. Another impressive vocal is turned in by Pineda. This is the type of track that is a grower and I could envision upon multiple listens that this will be track you will want to listen to on repeat. Schon provides a “wall of guitars” on the track and you start to see a trend that almost every track is in the 5 to 6 minute range; lots of room for the band to breath and for Schon to go off.


Tantra” – The only proper ballad on “Eclipse” and the song has something of a “Broadway show” feel to it. It’s grand sounding but in comparison it is not really all that different in feeling to most JOURNEY ballads, although I will say it is not as classic as the most popular JOURNEY ballads of all time. It does feel like some of these new tracks could sit comfortably on the “Trial By Fire” record if you wanted to use that as a point of reference and this is one of them.


Anything Is Possible” – This track is a breezy mid-paced track and more in line with the classic JOURNEY sound of the Perry-era; maybe something from the “Raised On Radio” era. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but a neat, simple tune and good change of pace after the first four tracks. This seems to be an album that needs to be listened to as a whole to get the full picture.


Resonate” – It’s one of the more immediate tracks after the initial few listens and also one of my early favorites. The chorus is simple but solid and stays with you in your head for days. The track also features some nice drumming from Deen Castronovo.


She’s A Mystery” – This songs immediately reminds me of the Steve Augeri period of the band. The song is very organic in sound compared to the rest of the record. No “wall of sound” guitars on this track but acoustics are abounding until the last minute and a half of the track where it turns into a bit of a bluesy hard rock track as it fades out. Another cool track for sure.


Human Feel” – This is the track that I believe has been released as a digital single in South American/Latin countries. It’s a hard rock influenced song with some organ sounds from Cain. The track is definitely on the newer side of sound from the band and is modern in subject matter. It almost sounds a little like a modern day BON JOVI track with its vibe but yet it maintains an 80’s hard rock edge also.


Ritual” – More of an immediate guitar-driven track with a classic JOURNEY vibe but mixed with an Augeri-era “Higher Place” feel. This is very close to past JOURNEY sounds of the 80’s for those that are looking for that. The song is filled with great vocals from Pineda.


To Whom It May Concern” – This song is more of a mid-paced affair where Pineda gets to open up a bit and show off the higher range of his voice. It’s a nice track but not one of the more classic songs the band has to offer. I do have to say I like the lyrics though.


Someone” – This is another one of those tracks that reminds a bit of the classic JOURNEY sound with its AOR vibe but also has a bit of that Augeri-led sound too. Schon’s familiar guitar tone comes shining through on the solo.


Venus” – The band gives us an instrumental to end the album. The song is a culmination of the guitar fireworks that Schon has laid down throughout the record. It works well to close out “Eclipse”.


So take it as you will. “Eclipse” may not be the very best JOURNEY record ever but it is a pretty well put together album and a more than enjoyable listen with quality playing and songwriting; one that I think is something of a grower at that. As I stated earlier, I like the fact that this band makes releasing new music a priority and even though the debates on this records will be many you can’t deny these collective musicians still know how to make quality music. There are some new textures mixed in on “Eclipse” along with some classic and newer-era JOURNEY sounds as well. All in all, “Eclipse” is worth while addition to the legacy of the band and their catalog. For a band that’s been releasing albums since 1975 can you really ask for more?



Band Lineup:
  • Arnel Pineda – Vocals
  • Neal Schon – Guitars
  • Jonathan Cain – Keyboards
  • Ross Valory – Bass
  • Deen Castronovo – Drums


Track Listing:
  1. City Of Hope
  2. Edge Of The Moment
  3. Chain Of Love
  4. Tantra
  5. Anything Is Possible
  6. Resonate
  7. She’s A Mystery
  8. Human Feel
  9. Ritual
  10. To Whom It May Concern
  11. Someone
  12. Venus




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