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| 4 February 2016 | Reply


Label: Frontiers Music srl

Release Date: January 29, 2016

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

There are a few artists that seem to strike gold every time the drop new material – in my honest opinion anyway.  One of those artists is Erik Martensson, whether at the helm of the band Eclipse or sharing the spotlight with Jeff Scott Soto in W.E.T.  The latest collaboration is the debut from Nordic Union, which also features the talents of Pretty Maids vocalist Ronnie Atkins.  Disc opener “The War Has Begun” rolls out slowly, but soon picks up steam… much like the locomotive on the liner notes.  The vocals and guitars, including a solo from Magnus Henriksson, blend well and build the sound of the song and allow the emotion of the lyrics to come through.  “Hypocrisy” is one of my favorite tracks on the disc, and it sets the bar high for the remainder of the songs.  The chugging riffs, the steady keyboard, and the soaring vocals give the song a cool feel that builds at the chorus.  This track features a guitar solo from Fredrik Folkare.  “Every Heartbeat” is a cool number that takes on a ballad-like tone and leans heavier Ronnie Atkins emotional delivery as the song builds momentum at the chorus.  The guitar solo on this track comes from Thomas Larsson.  “21 Guns” is a melodic track that prominently features Erik Martensson’s keyboard prowess while giving drummer Magnus Ulstedt room to shine with his heavy handed pounding on the kit, anchoring the track when it begins to soar at the chorus.  “The Other Side” kicks off with vocals, drums, and guitars all turned up to eleven and ready to run.  The chugging rhythm of this song remains steady from first note to last, adding punch near the end of the disc.  “Go” brings the disc to a close, swirling Atkins’ soaring vocals and Martensson’s guitars and keyboards, while Ulfstedt keeps perfect time on the kit.

“Wide Awake” opens with a riff and then the drums, bass, and keyboards kick in.  By time the vocals join the fray, the song is clipping along nicely without being heavy or chugging, it simply flows from verse to chorus and back.  Thomas Larsson contributes the guitar solo on this one.  “When Death Is Calling” has a different vibe than most of the other tracks on the collection, but stays true to the style and groove of the disc, especially at the chorus and into the bridge.  “Falling” is a forceful rocker that comes charging at you and keeps the energy upbeat and flowing, even when the song mellows at the verse.  The chorus is catchy and gets the foot tapping.  The guitars blend well with the keyboards and nicely support Atkins’ vocals.  “Point Of No Return” brings an almost symphonic feel to the disc, morphing a big symphonic sound with a melodic rocker, and twisting in some heavy handed drums from Ulfstedt for good measure.  Folkare tosses in a great guitar solo for good measure.  “True Love Awaits You” starts off like a ballad and gives Ronnie Atkins the opportunity to sing from the heart and head, while Erik Martensson’s keyboard and guitar work build a tapestry that perfectly suits the vibe of the mellower track without sacrificing the power and delivery of the emotional lyric.

​Tracklisting: The War Has Begun – Hypocrisy – Wide Awake – Every Heartbeat – When Death Is Calling – 21 Guns – Falling – The Other Side – Point Of No Return – True Love Awaits You – Go



Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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