Sunday, February 21, 2016


Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

"Oh Mother, Oh father, the war has begun. We've burnt and we've plundered this earth". The lyric to the opening track from the Nordic Union speak of the evil that men do to each other and poor tellus. The song ain't nothing but a good reminder of feeling bad. However, the sound is a bad reminder of feeling good? Or vice versa? Never mind the bollocks. This particular union between young Dane, Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and slightly younger Swede, Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse), boast eleven tracks that should attract hordes of melodic rock fans.

All songs are written or co-written by Mårtensson and Frontiers has understandably decided to cash in while they still can. The Erik formula and structure of success? Keep it simple, keep it catchy, keep it coming. He's also responsible for production, all guitars, bass, keyboards, and backing vocals. Blimey. Tracks such as "Wide Awake" and "Every Heartbeat" goes straight to the solar plexus with wondrously layered harmonies and melodies. The latter 'Heartbeat' refrain borrow quite a lot from Robin (Swedish Dance-Pop Queen).

"21 Guns", Atkins' vocals take the focus of the track, taking its lead as the refrain dips into the old cliche of 'down, down, down' (always three times, no more, no less), a dark side to the melodic rock music being more than hinted at as they're falling one by one. Speaking of "Falling", the following track is dipped in catchiness and deeply impassioned fun rock. The core of the track is the almost too sugar sweet refrain. Nonetheless. That hook will knock you down to the floor in no time. "The Other Side" and "Point Of No Return", morph into a slower, beefier melange of Eclipse and Pretty Maids. The raspy vocals by Atkins add a different approach to things than what Mårtensson could ever do.

Final verdict: Solid as a rock. You simply can't go wrong here if you fancy a mildly good time. The main question, how many more Mårtensson projects can you stomach before your poor tummy had enough?

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