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Eclipse Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Journey manages to pull off a nifty trick on 2011’s Eclipse: they fuse their prog rock beginnings with their arena rock heyday of the mid-‘80s. What they neglect to do is find hooks to have this play for an audience larger than the already devoted. There is no “Separate Ways,” no “Don’t Stop Believing,” no “Open Arms” here because the emphasis is not on the song, it’s on the instrumental action, the way the group carves soundscapes out of massive guitars, intricate rhythmic interplay, and cascades of synthesizers. That’s not to say that Eclipse is hook-less, because there are melodies for Arnel Pineda to sing and riffs for Neal Schon to churn out, but both certainly take a backseat to the overall sound Journey creates, one that is certainly classic rock without sounding particularly classic. Eclipse pulsates with a certain insular chill that isn’t especially welcoming; this is music made for the musicians, and if anybody else happens to like it, that’s just a minor bonus.

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