Review: Lastworld – Escape The Eclipse

Review: Lastworld – Escape The Eclipse

Perris Records (September 23rd, 2022)

Reviewer: Chris O’Connor

Hot on the tail of their ‘Fractured Mirror’ album from last year – Jim Shepard and David Cagle are back with their fourth studio opus, and in case you are new to the pairing – they are American purveyors of quality Melodic Rock. As soon as I knew this was coming, I knew I had to review it – anything David puts his name to is always amazing – listen to his work with Taxi, Silent Tiger or JK Northrup if you need proof!

Funnily enough, listening to this, I was struck by how there are distinct similarities between the tone of David’s voice and to that of Steve Hogarth of Marillion, strange how I’d not noticed it before. As usual with Lastworld, David provides the vocals, while Jim Shepard provides all the instrumentation … talented bugger!

Mr Shepard really knows his way around his all the instruments too, his fretwork is excellent, he knows how to use keyboards to add splashes of colour. His bass guitar skills are rock solid, and if the drums are programmed, then he’s made them sound very real – if not, then he’s a damned fine drummer to boot!

There is plenty of variety to be found throughout this album, from crunching rockers, through to delicate ballads, all performed with genuine finesse and an obvious love for what they do. It is not an album that re-writes the melodic rock musical wheel – but harkens back to the glory days of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, so if this is your era (and why would it not be?) then ‘Escape The Eclipse’ should be right up your street.

For my money, ballads like ‘Who Holds Your Heart’, and the tender ‘A Letter To A Friend’, are the big winners, though the epic ‘Go’, and the instrumental coda (which is also the title track) are very fine indeed. That’s not to say the rocking numbers are no good – far from it, as songs like ‘I’m Never Gonna Let You Go’ and ‘Take Me Away’ are excellent melodic gems too, but it’s the softer moments that hot the mark for me personally.

Elegantly written/composed, lovingly crafted, produced with aplomb (given the small budget one imagines, in ‘Escape The Eclipse’, Messrs Cagle and Shepard have created a very fine album indeed. If you love Melodic Rock, then you should definitely be investing in this little gem, as it really is worthy of your time and money. This is definitely one I will be going back to, and I commend it to you wholeheartedly.