One has to be rigorous and demanding with his favorite and beloved groups. These are the ones that have provided, after all, big shots of happiness and they seem to express your inner feelings more than all the other bands. For me personally, Journey belongs to the category of my favorite bands and “Eclipse” is yet another release of theirs that I had been expecting with great anxiety for many months. The raving reviews and the pompous words that preceded the album didn’t say anything to me…we have seen that same play in the past and we know all about it. The herald of the album, a song called “City of Hope”, could have only been considered as “just OK”…nothing special, though.
Well, “Eclipse” is a mediocre record. We don’t want to offer any kind of sanctuary to the best and biggest AOR group that ever appeared on planet Earth. It is an inferior album to its predecessor “Revelation” and generally speaking it’s the weakest Journey album since the “Infinity” days (with the pitiful “Generations” being the sole exception). Neal Schon decides to prove that Journey is mainly a hard rock outfit thus basing the whole sound of the album on frenzy guitar hooks and solos and putting on the sideways the trademark keyboards and melodic structures. Jonathan Cain takes a secondary role while Arnel Pineda does once again a hell of a job.
But, the weak point of “Eclipse” is the overall quality of the compositions; a component where Journey always were the undisputed kings. But not with this one…“Eclipse” includes only mega classic tracks, “Resonate” and “Chain of Love” while we could push the envelope with “Ritual” and “To Whom It May Concern” so as to characterize them simply good moments. As for the rest of the bunch…well, let’s just say, they won’t be missed.
With “Eclipse” Journey cause an eclipse to the sun of AOR and choose a pointless guitar-driven hard rock turn.
Highlight: At the same time that I was listening to the new Journey album, it fell on my hands the new Night Ranger record…the latter is miles away than the former!