Journey band phot 2-11

JOURNEY – Eclipse

Journey - EclipseJourney was, without at doubt, the kings of melodic rock / AOR in the 80’s. All their albums sold millions and they had several mega hits with each album they made. But when they released Raised On Radio in 1986, the band were reduced to a three-piece with only singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon and keyboard player Jonathan Cain as band members while bass and drums were handled by studio musicians / tour musicians. When that tour ended, things had turned so sour between the remaining members that the band split. Perry headed for a short and not too well received solo career while Schon and Cain formed the great Bad English with ex Babys members, frontman John Waite  and bassist Ricky Philips and Deen Catronovo handling drums. That project didn’t last for long either and in 1996 the original members reunited for the underrated Trial By Fire album, that unfortunately went nowhere! After Schon and Castronovo tried their luck with hard rock outfit Hardline in the early 90’s, it was clear that the 90’s didn’t belong to Journey. But that didn’t keep them from carrying on. Perry quit the band and was replaced by Steve Augeri (ex Tall Stories) and Bad English guy Castronovo took Steve Smith’s placed behind the drums. The band released two very good albums, Arrival and Generations before Augeri’s vocal chords were destroyed and they replaced him temporarily with Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen) before finding Philippine born Arnel Pineda on YouTube singing Journey songs.

By then their old hit ”Don’t Stop Believin’” had become a huge hit again due to the use of that song as the final ending of  the TV show The Sopranos. By now Journey were huge again and that is probably why they let Soto go and went with Perry sound-alike Pineda instead. That line up released the million selling Revelations in 2008 and I believe that Journey is single-handed responsible for the resurrection of AOR in this decade. So when it was time for a follow-up, instead of  giving us Revelations pt 2, they went the other way around. Because this album is way harder than its predecessor. In fact, it’s the heaviest album they have ever released, and it fits them perfectly. Gone are the big power ballads, even though there are some ballads here. ”City Of Hope” is classic Journey with a heavier touch, ”Edge Of The Moment” sound almost alternative, but with a Journey melody and on ”Chain Of Love” Journey goes metal, although really catchy with a brilliant chorus. On the ballad side there’s ”Tantra”, a fantastic one that is almost progressive, ”Resonate” is more of a half ballad, but heavy on the guitars and ”To Whom It May Concern” which is the only ballad here that reminds me of the classic ballads. Then there’s some really heavy stuff like ”Human Feel”. For you who craves at least a little of the classic AOR sound there are ”Anything Is Possible” and ”Someone” which really holds true to their old AOR sound and could very well turn into big hits. The album ends with ”Venus”, an instrumental that is pretty good, but in all honesty, it feels kind of pointless.

This is a superb album that is breaking new ground for the band. Also, with their new heavier sound, Pineda doesn’t sound like the Perry clone he was on the last album. He has found his own style here even though it’s impossible not to hear the similarities. This is an album that can be enjoyed by both old Journey fans and people who may have thought they were a bit too lightweight before. This should be seen as a modern Journey classic in a couple of years and is proof that Journey refuses to become just another nostalgia act. For that, I salute them!

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)


01. City Of Hope
02. Edge Of The Moment
03. Chain Of Love
04. Tantra
05. Anything Is Possible
06. Resonate
07. She’s A Mystery
08. Human Feel
09. Ritual
10. To Whom It May Concern
11. Someone
12. Venus

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