Frontiers Records are known for putting together some of the best collaborations in melodic rock and metal. You need only look at their track records of incredible albums from Kiske/Somerville, Sweet/Lynch, Level 10, and of course their most famous and popular release from Russell Allen and Jorn Lande and Magnus Karlsson aka Allen/Lande. Now comes another fantastic pairing. Nordic Union is the name behind the new musical collaboration, built by Frontiers President Serafino Perugino, between singer Ronnie Atkins of the legendary Danish Hard Rock band, Pretty Maids and the up-and-coming Swedish songwriter and producer Erik Martensson of Eclipse and W.E.T. fame.
Atkins has long been one of this reviewers all time favorite vocalists, with a unique voice filled with melody and grit. Atkins has, in recent years lent his voice to Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia (including the upcoming Ghostlights) with great success, so any chance to hear Atkins’ soulful melodic crooning on new music is more than welcome. The partnership with Martensson is just a natural, Eclipse has been writing amazing melodic hard rock with touches of AOR and a hint of metal for a while now and their last album Armageddonize was one of my favorite albums of 2014. This really is a dream pairing for fans of both bands.
The songs on the self-titled album are meticulously crafted with expert musicianship and filled with soaring harmonies, heavy riffs, driving rhythms, glorious guitar melodies, and powerful vocals. The album kicks of with the heavy rocking anthem The War Has Begun with a huge catchy hook and chorus that will have you singing along instantly, a perfect start to the album.
Hypocrisy is another tremendously powerful and catchy melodic rocker with a huge hook and a chorus that is made for arena rock.
Wide Awake has a foot stomping and driving mid-tempo drum beat and a passionate vocal performance from Atkins with some harmony vocal assistance to lift the song to another level. There is a blistering and melodic guitar solo from Martensson that just shines.
The album takes a softer turn on Every Heartbeat, a huge semi-power ballad with an emotive vocal performance from Atkins and a great melodic hook. This is the type of song that would have been a chart topper in the 1980’s no doubt.
When Death Is Calling has a guitar intro that is reminiscent of Finnish rockers H.I.M with its clean guitar sound and melody. An edgy, heavy, and haunting rocker, this is one of the albums best with a huge chorus.
21 Guns has a faster almost funky guitar riff with a huge soaring chorus and a fantastic vocal melody from Atkins.
Going back to Martensson’s penchant for writing hooky AOR songs is Falling, a sprawling and epic track with a spectacular vocal melody and backing vocals.The fast and fun hard rocker The Other Side has a faster pace and a riff straight of 80’s hair band rock.
Point of No Return is another kickass melodic rocker with powerful drums that keep the song steamrolling along. Atkin’s powerful voice and upper register is in full effect here.
True Love Awaits You is another power ballad that will tug on your heartstrings with emotional melodies and tender uplifting vocals with a hint of Def Leppard influence.
The album ends as it began with a heavy melodic anthem Go that is rocking and has a sing-a-long chorus guaranteed to get you moving and a great way to close the album.
For fans of Pretty Maids and Eclipse, pre-order this album right now! You will not be disappointed. Every other melodic hard rock album in 2016 has a lot to live up to if they want to match this album. Highly recommended.
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