Nordic Union - Second Coming

Nordic Union Second Coming cover
Nordic Union
Second Coming
Frontiers Music srl
2018
6
Not too long ago, Frontiers record boss Serafino did what he likes to do, ie proposed to the very talented and ever busy Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T, Ammunition) to write an album for Pretty Maids’ lead singer Ronnie Atkins, who’s also a very prominent force in Avantasia.

With Erik spread over several projects, the aforementioned project that on paper should have really been better than sliced bread, sort of fizzled somewhat, mainly due to the rather formulaic songwriting. So does the “Second Coming” manage to really change this? Hardly, with Erik ever-busy with his own bands and Atkins trying to also handle his band’s responsibilities, they manage to pretty much deliver a work that while not below their combined abilities, only seems to tap partially into their talent.

I mean it’s hard to not like something that has Ronnie Atkins vocals on it, as his rich timbre and passionate deliveries – really make you hang on to every word he says and songs like “My Fear and My Faith” (particularly due to how Atkins phrases it), feels like the most epic Bob Catley solo song, that Bob never recorded. “Because of Us” has this Eclipse-like “urgency” but not quite the sharp hook, as it also gets a bit political, just like “It Burns” that pokes some fun into modern (mainly US) politics while rocking away in the most melodic way imaginable. “Walk Me through the Fire” has even some sing-along woooahs, so you get the picture. However past the first half of the album, and the aforementioned pretty good tracks, things feel a little bit “on autopilot” with the occasional song of part, vying to keep the listener interested, but only partly managing to do so.

While this “collaboration” could really come up with the goods, neither of their two albums delivers what would really make people stand up and take notice. If a third album gets commissioned, I’d rather see it coming about due to the fact that there’s some real inspiration and not in order to fill a release schedule. “Second Coming” is enjoyable, but not seminal or a paramount purchase. If you’re a mad completist or can’t get enough either of the proponents of this collaboration, go ahead, but otherwise give it a spin to make up your mind first.