PHENOMENA - review added 3rd April 2012
Album Review: Awakening (2012)
For fans of: Hard Rock
Phenomena's last album "Blind Faith" appeared less than 18 months ago, so I have to say it's a surprise to find another one on the way out so quickly. Built around the words of Tom Galley, this is a project band featuring numerous players recording songs with what approaches a common theme. Stylistically it isn't quite as disparate as a magazine cover disc, but it obviously isn't as cohesive as an album by a real band.
The sound mixes hard rock with lots of harmonies, plenty of keyboards, even a gospel choir. In the most part it works, providing a catchy interesting listen that works on numerous levels. Unlike a lot of albums with various performers, the swapping from one singer to another actually works well on the Phenomena albums. I'm not sure why, but the lack of continuity seems to make total sense. Maybe it's that every song feels fresh and unlike anything else on the album.
Same goes for the playing. There is a lot of fine musicianship, hardly surprising when the likes of Tommy Denander, Mike Slamer, Magnus Karlsson and Martin Kronlund are involved.
Of the songs, the first two tracks are great, as is the very lyrical 'Fighter', and Coldspell's excellent 'Dancing Days'. None of the songs are bad though in fairness.
Another very good Phenomena release. Not as solid as an album by a band with a single singer, but better that it has a right to be...and contains a lot of strong individual moments.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
01. Smash It Up (Lee Small on Vocals, Mat Sinner Bass, Magnus Karlsson Lead Guitars)
02. Reality (Toby Hitchcock on vocals and Mike Slamer on Lead Guitars)
03. Homeland (Rob Moratti on vocals and Martin Kronlund on all Guitars)
04. Going Away (James Christian vocals and Tommy Denander Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
05. Gotta Move (Ralf Scheepers on vocals, Christian Wolff & Tommy Denander on Guitars)
06. How Long (Lee Small on vocals and Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
07. Shake (Mike DiMeo on Vocal and Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
08. Fighter (Terry Brock on vocals and Steve Newman on Guitars and backing vocals)
09. Dancing Days (Niklas Swedentorp on Lead Vocals with all Coldspell members)
10. Stand Up For Love (Chris Antblad with JAVA Gospel Choir)
Martin Kronlund: Guitars, and Bass
Tom Harlan: Guitars & Keyboards
Imre Daun: Drums. Henrik Thomsen: Bass
Per Aronson-Andersson: Hammond, keyboards
JAVA Gospel on "Stand up for love"
Carl Anthony Wright - Guitars
Christian Wolff - Guitars
Tommy Denander - Guitars
Mike Slamer Guitars
Magnus Karlsson - Guitars
Mat Sinner - Bass
All COLDSPELL members
Steve Newman - Guitars and backing vocals
Fredrik Bergh - Keyboards on "Smash It Up" And "Gotta Move"
Produced by: Tom Galley and Martin Kronlund
Recorded and engineered by Martin Kronlund
Executive Producer: Khalil Turk
Label: Escape Music