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

Arnel Pineda – vocals
Neal Schon – guitars
Jonathan Cain – keyboards
Ross Valory – bass
Deen Castronovo – drums

Journey (1975)
Look into the Future (1976)
Next (1977)
Infinity (1978)
Evolution (1979)
Departure (1980)
Dream, After Dream (film soundtrack, 1980)
Escape (1981)
Frontiers (1983)
Raised on Radio (1986)
Trial by Fire (1996)
Arrival (2001)
Red 13 (EP, 2002)
Generations (2005)
Revelation (2008)


Produced by Kevin Shirley, Neal Schon, and Jonathan Cain
Recorded by Kevin Shirley and David Kalmusky
Mixed and mastered by David Kalmusky

Released 3/6-2011
Reviewed 21/5-2011


Where do you begin when it comes to Journey? This is a band that has been at the top chart position around the world. That has played in front of 80 000 fans many times. That has sold over 80 million albums. That has a 15x platinum status in the US with their best selling album (the sixth most sold album ever in the United States). That has the most downloaded single released in the last millennium. That has a single that’s been on the British single charts top 75 position for so long that it’s one of the ten singles that has been there longest. That has 19 top 40 singles in the US (six of those on top ten) and six studio albums on top ten at Billboard hot 100 (and a further nine around the world and a further four counting live- and compilation albums)…

I can go on and on like that forever with impressing facts about Journey, but when a new album is released, their previous journey doesn't matter - all that matter is the current. And this is the 14th album from this classic American band. With their last album they introduced a new vocalist in the band and the young Philippine Arnel Pineda is the only new member since the big break up in 1998 when their classic vocalist Steve Perry and drummer Steve Smith left the band, which resulted in drummer Deen Castronovo and Steve Augeri on vocals. In 2008 Pineda came in to the band and this is his second album.

Now, I already know that most of you (if not all) are sitting there thinking "I don't care about that! All I want to know is if this album sounds anything like Don't Stop Believin'". Well does it? No! Sorry to disappoint you. But that doesn't mean this album is bad; it only means that this album isn't a 12-pack of tiny little Don't Stop Believin' copies, the song that we all love. My guess is that this is the heaviest Journey album ever, or if not ever then at least heaviest released since 1977 when they released their last album before turning soft. This is Uriah Heep-heavy, at least in the first part of the album, and it feels very much like hard rock. However, the longer in to the album you get, the softer it goes and and turns more and more into virtuosic guitar rock with solo guitars that takes me to the ocean, floating around under frying hot sun and just going wherever the wind takes you. Or on a journey driving around in the american dessert with a muscle car on the straight roads.

Arnel Pineda sounds surprisingly alike Steve Perry, but without plagiarizing. His voice fits well in Journey, he sounds somewhat old and hoarse, but beneath the surface there's a voice that could make cows fly. I'll bet you some acres of Philippine islands that more or less all the old Journey fans will love Pineda, regardless of how he was greeted on his debut (unless you’re an idiot and only look at what name and picture that is on the album and judge from that). This is mostly due to 'Eclipse' being foundational better than 'Revelation' and since most of the music has been written in the Philippines with Pinedas voice in mind it suits his way of singing better as well. The traditional rock music that dominate at least the second half of the album should go well with the Journey fans but I don't think the lack of hit-songs will do the trick. The band has released a digital single in the first track of this album, the more than six minutes long City of Hope. This isn't the most obvious choice for a single if you ask me, since it lacks that real hit-feel. Funny enough, the songs with most hit-feel feels like the slower songs.

Are we talking hit-feel, then I think the cheesy song Tantra, the artful Ritual and the power ballad To Whom it May Concern have most of it. The band say themselves that due to the death of radio, they don't need to do singles. The whole 3-3 1/2 minute concept is dead. What they can do now is to concentrate fully on doing great music without thinking about running times and doing hit songs. In a way, I don't think that's a particularly good idea. Surprise surprise but Journey is Journey and the last couple of years they've gone from huge to absolute icons as Don't Stop Believin' has had a renaissance and to just think that no one will care to play them on radio anyway is just... stupid, I think. But it's their choice, the only thing I think is bad with it is how this makes the track lengths to really race away beyond control. Since reuniting in 1995 they haven't released an album with less than an hour of material and 'Eclipse' is no exception. It has twelve songs where a measly three in under five minutes and just one under four (the concluding song Venus). According to me, this is too much! Too much of everything, to be frank. Too many songs, too much of the songs, too much album and to many songs with songs this long and on an album this long.

Today, Journey are big and famous enough to be able to do more or less whatever they want without compromising anywhere, and this is what they've done with 'Eclipse'. No one has said "Stop!" anywhere, which is both good and bad at the same time. The result is a heavier, darker and harder album than what they've done in over 30 years and more similar to the old Journey, before the commercial success which is what most people think of when they hear their name. Melodies are less obvious and focus is laid on string work virtuosity. Overall, I think they've managed well. This is a very good album with an amazing production that really feel as grand as this band are in their numbers. However, I miss that striking feeling that’s hitting you like a jealous wife waiting in the kitchen with a frying pan or a nail clipper caught in a automatic toaster pinching you in the stomach. It might miss that little extra, but it's still a great album - no doubt about that.

The album cover is suppose to be an eclipse (hence the name) and somehow that feels like something they've putted some effort in before they put the name and cover on the album. This is without question an eclipse of Journey, one of the greatest bands in the world. It's darker and heavier than they've been for a long, long time - if not ever. And musically it's good, it's really good, but as I said it's not strikingly good. I think this album had been even greater with one or two hit-songs. The kind of songs you always start with when you play it. And ends with. And play a little more than the rest, and see as the definition of this particular album. But I can't find anything like that on this album, instead it suffers from being too long. Too long songs, too long album, too long review... But it's still really good!


Label: Frontiers
Three similar bands: Uriah Heep/The Steve Miller Band/Styx
Recensent: Caj Källmalm