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A latecomer in my quest to listen to and review every Yngwie release to date, Eclipse marks a rather sour time in Yngwie's career. The apogee of his career, Odyssey, had just passed, and many other landmarks (Marching Out, Trilogy) had passed as well. His mother had recently died, and he had also UNLEAHSED THE FHOOKIN FYOORY on that FHUKKEN BITCH on the plane to tokyo.
Is it any good?
Well, yes and no. There are obvious cookers on this release, as well as a couple midtempo rockers that get the heads banging. However, on the other hand, there is a distinct glam flavour to most of the songs, with few exceptions, and the first three songs on the album turned me off of this album completely for almost a year. As well, the album's strengths take a bit of time to appreciate, as when I first wrote this review I didn't. However, there are some niggling faults with Eclipse, and they only get worse with time. So let's get on with the analysis.
At first, I didn't mind the singing of Goran Edman, even though he reminded me of that guy from *gak* Poison and his voice was kinda forgettable. But as time grew on, I grew on to like songs like Devil in Disguise and Demon Driver, with their dark and majestic solos and acoustic passages - and Goran Edman's voice ruined those songs, sounding like he was running out of breath half the time. His voice clearly isn't suited to Yngwie's style, and while it merely restrained Fire and Ice from achieving its full potential, here it just ruins the album. If only Joe Lynn Turner had been allowed to stay on the boat, or Jeffrey Scott Soto, or Mark Boals, or if Yngwie had chosen Vescera in the first place... Simply put, when the music demanded power, Edman had the power of a 1/2 horsepower garage door opener. What Yngwie needs is a fukken 650 horsepower cooker.
Onward, the music isn't all that bad all the time. However, an alarmingly large amount of the time, it is pretty bad. Making Love is interesting only in the sense that it's horrendously gay (and the video doesn't help, either) and commercial. Bedroom Eyes is a catchy song at first, but gets old quickly, and IMO I Don't Know (on Seventh Sign) did the same thing but better. It is also alarmingly commercial. I won't even speak of Save Our Love, it's that bad. I could really go on, because those aren't the only crappy or mediocre songs. The songwriting is obviously influenced by the trends at the time, and at a time when Yngwie needed to separate himself from the crowd, not date himself to the glammy cheese of the period, he made a half assed effort to join it. It cost him many fans in the long run, and he sorely missed those fans during the mid-90's when commercial support dried up in America. As well, there is an appalling simplicity in many of these songs. The material simply isn't there. What Do You Want is as generic as the title would imply, with an interesting keyboard line being the only thing propping the song up. All the material is played as written, with none of the slight deviations from the formula that make it human. Faultline opens up rather mystically, but devolves into a real snorefest, too, plodding along lifelessly and by-the-books.
However, when this album cooks, it cooks. The aforementioned Demon Driver, Motherless Child, and the Eclipse (the song) are fast paced cookers with amazing as usual solos, harmonized with organ and harpsichords the way it should be. Songs like Judas and Devil In Disguise are mid-paced rockers with heavy drum lines and riffs, unleashed (pardon the pun) with great fury. Before I go on, I must say that while the actual drumming is rather uninspired on Eclipse, the drum sound is superb, and Yngwie never got a better drum tone. Anywho, all that being said, the music is rather restrained by three things:
One, the keyboard tone is atrocious. While Mats Olausson's sound got better and less cheesy on the following albums, here they're obnoxious and lo-fi. While Olausson's playing is not to be disputed, the tone here is atrocious.
And Two, again, is Edman's singing. He can't deliver the power on those songs.
Finally, again, the drumming is simply substandard. Subtlety is a thing that is lost on this drummer, as he spends a great deal of time making sure the drums are the one thing you won't remember from this album. The sheer passion of Anders Johansson from the Rising Force incarnation and the technical proclivities of Bo Werner, Mike Terrana, and Shane Galaas on the following three albums isn't present here. Yet again, which is disappointing, cuz the snare's sharp crack is wasted here.
Unfortunately a lot of the songs here are crap radio rock, which damns this album completely, as the Good song:Bad song ratio is too small. The way I counted it, it's about Half and Half, or, out of 11 songs, there were 5 good songs, 3 mediocre songs, and 3 absolute crap songs. As an album it's alright, but as an album made by a man who calls himself "master" in swedish, I can't give it any higher than a 65/100. Download Demon Driver, Judas, Eclipse, Demon Driver, Devil In Disguise, and Motherless Child, the rest of the album is forgettable, definitely not worth buying unless you're a serious malmsteen collector.