Released by: Escape Music
Release Date: March 23rd, 2012
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
1-Smash It Up (Lee Small on Vocals, Mat Sinner Bass, Magnus Karlsson Lead Guitars)
2-Reality (Toby Hitchcock on vocals and Mike Slamer on Lead Guitars)
3-Homeland (Rob Moratti on vocals and Martin Kronlund on all Guitars)
4-Going Away (James Christian vocals and Tommy Denander Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
5- Gotta Move (Ralf Scheepers on vocals and Christian Wolff &Tommy Denander on Guitars)
6- How Long (Lee Small on vocals and Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
7- Shake (Mike DiMeo on Vocal and Martin Kronlund on Guitars)
8- Fighter (Terry Brock on vocals and Steve Newman on Guitars and backing vocals)
9- Dancing Days (Niklas Swedentorp on Lead Vocals with all Coldspell members)
10-Stand Up For Love (Chris Antblad with JAVA Gospel Choir)
Tom Galley started his Phenoma project in the early 80’s and with some early radio success this involvement lead him to work with some of the biggest names in the British Hard Rock scene at the time, such as Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, HTP), drum legend Cozy Powell (RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE a.o.), Don Airey (DEEP PURPLE), Neil Murray (WHITESNAKE) etc. The first Phenomena release was received to great acclaim and such effort after that has propelled the series into what is now the 6th album in the series. Now myself personally even though I like the amount of talent that the Galley brothers have orchestrated over the years, I can’t help but to remember the great vocals of Glenn Hughes on that first debut album which was a automatic appeal from the git go. Obviously since then Hughes has moved on to make tons of music and is currently in the Black Country Communion super group.
The new album “Awakening” follows no concept in relation to the previous Phenomena albums, but what it does is stamp the listener with each individual song showcasing each guest singers vocal aptitude and range. With this in mind you have some very good guitar players taking contributing to the record as well and the production was handled by both Tom Galley and Martin Kronlund. If you look at the singers compiled you will take notice at the quality of their craftsmanship, and you can easily witness this in the songs on this record. I have always admired these type of projects as is quite a task to try to fit all different styles and voices, and like other similar projects the likes of Voices of Rock and son on, eventually the vocalists and guest musicians end up making the record what it is.
With this in mind we delve into these tunes and some jump out automatically, like the shattering rock steady vibes of “Shake” which amps up the noise with an anthem coutesy of the vocals of Mike Dimeo. Another amazing melodic rock soaring track is the Terry Brock led “Fighter” which has Brock doing his best Jim Jamison impersonation, great anthem tune with a nice chorus and bridge. The fantastic British singer Lee Small drops some heavy lines on the power rhythm on the prime number “How Long”. Rob Moratti the Canadian Melodic Rock voice contributes on the smooth rock ballad in “Homeland”, making me even more anxious to hear his new album with his former band Final Frontier very soon. The last tune has a nice pop/rock feel with a smooth chorus featuring the vocals of Chris Antblad with the JAVA Gospel Choir. Pretty nice number to end the record on an upbeat happy note.
Awakening is one of those albums that sounds great on your mood on one day and may sound completely ordinary on other days. This is not to say that the music doesn’t live up to the project past efforts, but it just depends on the vibe of each song as the different styles of singers demand a separate listen. The production is very well done as expected overall is a nice effort that wont break any barriers, but keeps the spirit of the Phenomena chain and Tom Galley moving forward. Regardless of personal choice or the fact that Glenn Hughes hasn’t been involved with this project since the early beginning, there is still rumors going around about a possible stable singer and a major record deal to bring back the original Phenomena sound.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 8/10