After Revelation (2008), Eclipse is Journey's second album with singer Arnel Pineda. On the previous album Pineda was still searching for his own sound and style of singing, but on Eclipse his voice perfectly fits the music of this top-notch American AOR-band. Pineda also wrote two songs for this album. The cover of Eclipse has a strong resemblance with that of Escape (1981) and also the music hasn't changed that much since then. As for the rest the band still consist of Neal Schon (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), Ross Valory (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Deen Castronovo (drums, backing vocals). With this new album Journey proves why they are considered to be one of the best AOR-bands around over the past three decennia.
City Of Hope, the opening piece of Escape, begins with the familiar guitar sound of Neal Schon, after which Arnel Pineda and the other band members pick it up. This piece has a high quality level and a sound you expect from a band like Journey after all those years. The song deals with Manila, the capital of the Philippines and hometown of Pineda. He has lived there for many years. Next song is Edge Of The Moment, a great piece to perform live I think. It includes heavy guitar riffs and the solid drums of Deen Castronovo. However, Escape doesn't only contain heavy songs. You can even call a song like Tantra easy listening. In this song Pineda's voice sounds very pure! I think this is the reason why the others asked him to join Journey, since many fans all over the world compare his voice to the voice of former singer Steve Perry. Indeed, when you close your eyes both singers sound almost identical. Human Feel is the longest piece on the album lasting about seven minutes. It rocks from the first note until the last, but my personal favourite is Venus, an instrumental piece. Neal Schon and Dean Castronovo really play superbly together here. The more you listen to this piece, the more you discover.
I've seen Journey three times live now, each time with a different singer, but the last time with Arnel Pineda. Without doubt, he's my favourite singer despite the fact that Steve Perry sings on most of the Journey-albums. For me Escape is the best album of the year so far. They exceeded themselves with this album, so what can we expect on the next one?
***** Jeroen Bik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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