September 4, 2022

There is a little bit of a clue in the name as to the origin of this superior hard rock band which was formed as a project in 2015 by the Swedish songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erik Martensson of Eclipse and W.E.T. fame and the unique and much revered vocalist Ronnie Atkins of Danish hard rock outfit Pretty Maids. Their self-titled debut was released in 2016 and proved to be a real hard rock monster that simply took no prisoners and showcased the sublime talents of Martensson and Atkins. Luckily, the project developed into a band and we then had the equally brilliant follow up album, Second Coming, in 2018 which took and built upon the stunning rock of the debut and took it to a new level entirely.

Nordic Union – Erik Martensson and Ronnie Atkins

It’s been a bit of a wait since then but now we have album number three and what a stunning work it is. Erik Martensson again plays lead and rhythm guitar, bass and keyboards as well as offering up backing vocals with Ronnie Atkins being simply imperious on vocals and the fact that he was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer makes his performance all the more remarkable. Indeed, Ronnie is in fabulous form at the moment and his recent solo albums One Shot and Make It Count are sensational and simply have to be heard. That he can make such life affirming hard rock albums with his health issues is a testimony to him both as a performer and a man and we should savour every moment with him. Henrik Eriksson gives a masterclass on drums and there is even more to revel in as Martensson is an exquisite guitarist but he has also brought in additional lead guitar from Fredrik Folkare and Thomas Larsson and, oh boy, do these guys serve up a real delight for us. As I have said before, get that air guitar on standby as you are going to need it.

If you have previously heard Pretty Maids, Eclipse or W.E.T. before then you will know that hard rock satisfaction is going to be guaranteed as this is superior melodic hard rock of the very finest quality with class throughout each track. When Ronnie opens up and belts out a stadium rocker then the hair on the back of your neck stands up and his delivery on the power ballads is in a class of its own, this man is a true rock god and should be celebrated as such. The combination of Atkins and Martensson was truly made in heaven as these two musicians have a real affinity and a synergy that brings the best out in both of them. Then add the extra power of Folkare and Larsson and you have something very special in front of you.

To hear the album is to love it and all who are lucky enough to own a copy will most certainly have it on repeat play as Animalistic is the epitome of hard rock.

Animalistic

  1. On This Day I Fight (3:02)
  2. In Every Waking Hour (3:27)
  3. If I Could Fly (3:45)
  4. Riot (3:51)
  5. This Means War (4:12)
  6. Scream (3:11)
  7. Animalistic (4:20)
  8. Wildfire (3:50)
  9. Shot In The Dark (3:25)
  10. Last Man Alive (3:37)
  11. King For A Day (2:47)