That great sage Myles Kennedy one sang, “The sun always sets, the moon always falls”, as does Serafino Perugino’s desire for a nice little earner of a ‘project’. This tine, for the first time in 2016, it’s a joint venture, or in this case a Union (make that a Nordic Union) between W.E.T.'s/Eclipse/Ammunition's Erik Martensson, and Pretty Maids’ Ronny Atkins.
Unlike some of the others that have appeared on Frontiers (other label projects also available), Atkins isn’t a well-travelled performer. What I mean is, apart from the odd Avantasia stint, he is 100% Pretty Maids man. If it were a marriage, he’s is the equivalent of cheating on his missus by looking at a porn mag!
Martensson in comparison is a bit of a slapper - a man of many bands, and now projects, but a man of immense talent. That said, the bloke is constantly on fire and improving with every release he has done to date.
After just one listen I felt like a kid at Disney theme park. I had to do back and do it all again. The production is huge and Martensson has a style to his writing that screams ‘quality’. You can tell as the sound of NU is a blend of Eclipse and WET. Think W.E.clipse and you’ll see where I’m coming from!
‘The War Has Begun’ takes its lead from Eclipse's 'Bleed and Scream' and is a power anthem for the modern age, a battle cry for the disenfranchised and underdogs of the world, and Magnus Henriksson adds his considerable talents to a cracking guitar solo. I have a confession, and that is that I’ve never been a Pretty Maids fan really, but that could change as Atkins sings his Nordic arse off. ‘Hypocrisy’ is a prime example of this. Mash it with the killer opening riff and a chorus that is injected straight into your brain for immediate repeat.
It could be an obvious choice to point the finger at Martensson and suggest that these songs are Eclipse cast offs. But that, dear reader, couldn’t be farther from the truth. The frenetic pace is knocked back with ‘Every Heartbeat’ a song that highlights Atkins’ vocals. Actually both this and ‘True Love Awaits You’ both err on the side of power pop/rock and could see NU appealing to a wider audience than the typical Frontiers roster. ‘When Death Is Calling’ shows the heavier side (and much better side) of Nordic Union. When Atkins sings the title line, its like the modern version of Blackie Lawless.
Its proven to be a great choice for Frontiers in putting Martensson and Atkins together. In Martensson you have a great songwriter, producer (and singer in his own right) and in Atkins a perfect foil to deliver the melody and lyrics.
2015 was a hit and miss year for Frontiers, with some quite average releases but they (Frontiers) have hit 2016 with a huge bang. Let the high consistency continue!!
Its quite an essential purchase for melodic rock fans
The War Has Begun
When Death Is Calling
The Other Side
Point Of No Return
True Love Awaits You