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Phantom 5 – Play To Win Review

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock



Line Up:

Claus Lessmann – Lead Vocals
Michael Voss – Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
Robert Boebel – Guitar, Keyboards
Axel Kruse – Drums



01. The Change In You
02. Crossfire
03. Baptised
04. Read Your Mind
05. Play To Win
06. Child Soldiers
07. Do You Believe In Love
08. Phantom Child
09. Had Enuff
10. Shadows Dance
11. Reach Out


For those of you looking for a reinvention of the wheel, this is not your group. However, if you simply need a fix of some new tunes and are looking to scratch that melodic hard rock itch, Phantom 5’s latest release, Play To Win, will more than satisfy. After the success of their debut, Voss and Lessmann (the group’s founders) knew a follow-up would be inevitable. And Play To Win does not disappoint.

Upon hearing the first few notes, I knew this band personified the melodic hard rock genre. One of the examples of this is the production, especially the drums. It was a pleasant surprise to hear the drum tracks on par with the rest of the band. Same goes for the bass. Too often these fall into obscurity in the mix but Voss (who also produced) made certain this would not happen.

The first 4 tracks set the listener’s ears ablaze and hint at what can be expected from the album as a whole. Everything is firing on all cylinders here; vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and even the BGVs. Phantom 5 have their roots firmly in 80’s melodic hard rock but with technological advances, superb writing and musicianship, they prove just how good the 80’s can sound. The middle tracks on Play To Win are somewhat redundant in sound and melody but would no doubt stand alone as decent songs. The album picks back up with Had Enuff. I can all but guarantee it would have been a top 40 hit in the 80’s, as would have Read Your Mind. Reach Out closes out Play To Win as the lone true power ballad and a good one at that. For me, the standout tracks remain The Change In You, Crossfire, Baptised, and Read Your Mind. Honorable mention goes to Had Enuff and Reach Out.

As stated previously, Phantom 5’s latest release doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does shine it up a bit and puts a new spin on a classic genre. Fans of Scorpions, Dokken, Bon Jovi, Winger, Kix, and Damn Yankees will almost certainly find Play To Win quite appealing. So if you’re needing a fix of new tunes (or even if you are not) and/or are a fan of those bands and they haven’t released new music in awhile (or maybe don’t even exist anymore), give Phantom 5’s latest outing a chance. I’m guessing you won’t be disappointed.


Written by: Steve Howell

Rating: 7/10



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