Frontiers Records [Release date 29.01.16]
Lead singer of Eclipse, whose ‘Armageddonize’ album was GRTR!’s second best melodic rock album of 2015, Erik Martensson is one of the most prolific, not to say talented, figures in his field. The latest in a series of albums he has written sees him crossing the border from Sweden to Denmark to join forces with veteran Pretty Maids singer Ronnie Atkins under the appropriately titled Nordic Union banner.
The album should be seen as a companion to Eclipse’s last two releases with a very similar musical style; uptempo songs like ‘Wide Awake’, ‘Every Heartbeat’, and ‘Falling’ remind me of both Eclipse and his other band W.E.T., though Ronnie’s trademark rough edged voice gives some songs a slightly heavier feel, notably ‘When Death is Calling’, with a modern sounding riff and almost WASP-like vocals, as well as ‘The Other Side’ and ‘Point of No Return’.
There is a recurring anti-war lyrical theme in the likes of opener ‘the War Has Begun’, which reminds me in its writing style of a heavier Magnum, and ’21 Guns’. ‘Hypocrisy’ is a highlight with great guitar work and a pulsing chorus of ‘Caroline’, though ‘True Love Awaits You’ was a touch schmaltzy.
As the album whizzed through in no time to closer ‘Go’, I was reminded too that other hallmarks of most Martensson work are here- a crisp, modern production and a concise approach to songwriting with barely any exceeding the four minute mark.
This is a very solid release which maintains the quality of Erik’s previous products and will appeal to fans of current Scandi darlings like HEAT and the Poodles as well as bands he is associated with. I’m intrigued to see if it was a one off project or the start of something more ongoing. **** ¼
Review by Andy Nathan
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