A decade or so ago, after they’d released the momentous Bleed & Scream elpee, it looked for all the world as if Sweden’s Eclipse had, well, eclipsed the opposition and were set for a long time on hard rock’s sunlit uplands looking down at all the other bands flailing along in their wake.

That state of affairs never really came to pass, as the opposition upped it’s game to a point where Eclipse came right back to the pack. Now they are ‘just another’ in the long list of superb Swedish hard rock outfits currently doing the rounds, and, after a lot of time with new album Megalomanium I can’t really see their position changing overmuch.

That isn’t to say that they are making bad music. Indeed, to my battered old ears, this newie is the best thing they’ve done since Bleed & Scream, although the band V.2023 is a markedly different beast to it’s counterpart of yore. These days you’re as likely to get a whiff of Coldplay in the band’s tunes as you are Gary Moore or Pretty Maids; And, although this kind of diversification is always always welcomed by the musicians involved, very often the fans are slower to come round to changing stylistic climates…

Alright. For ‘fans’, read ‘this reviewer’. But the ace up Eclipse’s collective sleeve is always that they are such adept musicians that they make even the anodyne sound compelling thanks to the sheer talent of all involved. Consequently, fripperies like Hearts Collide do indeed fit together nicely in the context of the album alongside roaring rockers like Anthem and So Long Farewell Goodbye, whilst the bouncy pop rock of One Step Closer To You and Got It! gives a youthful slant to the band’s material that adds another facet to their appeal overall.

A the end of the day, all that really matters is listenability – and there’s absolutely no denying that this is the most listenable album Erik Mårtensson, Magnus Henriksson and the boys Crusner have come up with in some while.

Megalomanium releases on September 1st.