Title - 'Phenomena: I, II, & III' [Definitive Editions]
Artist - Phenomena
For those not in the know, Phenomena is a rock music concept formed by record producer Tom Galley and brother, Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley.
During the recording of their debut, Phenomena they were joined by Metalhammer founder Wilfried Rimensberger with other contributors along the way being such notables as leading rock musicians Glenn Hughes, Brian May, and John Wetton, amongst others.
In fact, Phenomena's production of rock songs based on a story line running through a whole album, attached to artworks and other multi-media aspects was credited for the “return of the concept album” in the 1980s.
Phenomena released three albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, and had a number one hit single in South America with 'Did It All For Love,' while the album charted across Europe, in Japan and Brazil.
Now all three Phenomena albums are being re-released as Definitive Editions, which means their legion of fans can enjoy these incredible rock performances as the band themselves always intended them to.
Indeed, the creator of Phenomena, Tom Galley, said of the re-releases: “I'm happy to see the release of these original recordings. And being in touch with the involved artists, I know they are looking forward to see this happening too. Together with previously never seen material the 3 albums are well presented.”
Phenomena was their aforementioned debut in 1985 with the all-star, million selling album - created by Tom Galley - featuring the rock talents of: Glenn Hughes; Cozy Powell; Mel Galley; Neil Murray; Don Airey; Ric Sanders; John Thomas; and Ted McKenna.
1. 'Kiss Of Fire'
2. 'Still The Night'
3. 'Dance With The Devil'
4. 'Phoenix Rising'
6. 'Who's Watching You?'
7. 'Hell On Wings'
8. 'Twilight Zone'
The styling of the music is amazing, much like a mix of '70s melodies and rhythms from the '80s. Complete with atmospheric intros on many of the songs and featuring a lot of ex-Whitesnake members, it's no wonder that the album leans towards that sound - together with a tag that hung with them forever, which was they sounded like "Journey's evil cousin"!
The lyrics tend toward dark themes, while the music bounces through light and shade, hard rock and pop rock, and guitar dueling with synthesizer and, perhaps, even fiddle on 'Dance with the Devil'.
All the while the songs are loosely hung around a concept story (outlined in the liner notes). Trust me, if you like Whitesnake, Journey, and other bands of the same musical ilk, these are the albums for you, my friends.
This Definitive Edition has received a 2018 remaster and the booklet features new liner notes, including new comments from Tom Galley, who has provided the newly written track by track descriptions.
Phenomena II: Dream Runner is from 1987, once again created by Tom Galley, and features the hit single 'Did It All For Love' (which was a #1 across South America).
It also features the following studio rock musicians: John Wetton; Glenn Hughes; Mel Galley; Neil Murray; Ray Gillen;
Max Bacon; Richard Bailey; Michael Sturgis; Scott Gorham; Toshihiro Niimi;
John Thomas; Kyoji Yamamoto; and Leif Johansen.
3. 'Did It All for Love'
4. 'Hearts on Fire'
6. 'Double 6, 55, Double 4'
7. 'No Retreat, No Surrender'
8. 'Move - You Lose!'
9. 'Emotion Mama
10. 'It Must Be Love'
With a three year gap in place, Phenomena was finally back and had brought with them a wondrous sophomore album, Dream Runner. Featuring a largely different group of rock musicians to aid them this time, the fluid approach to their work obviously didn't faze them as the follow-up album was a' rockin'!
On the debut, Glenn Hughes took vocal command of the tracks, but here he only performs on three, with the late John Wetton (Asia), Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath/Badlands) and Max Bacon (GTR) splitting the remaining seven between them.
Interestingly enough, at that time, Murray was actually part of the Japanese metal outfit Vow Wow, and so their guitarist Kyoji Yamamoto and drummer Toshihiro Nimmi also got on board with the Galley project.
What we got here this time were a tighter set of tracks, more melodic overall, to be honest, but nonetheless ruthless in their fan-pleasing aspects.
The album opens with the brilliant 'Stop!' from Gillen, whilst Hughes takes the mic for 'Surrender.' Sounding like a great Asia cut, Wetton's only venture to the mic is the melodic harmonies of 'Did It All For Love,' and remains one of my all-time Phenomena favorites.
Hughes is back for 'Hearts On Fire,' but its the distinctive vocals of Bacon on 'Jukebox' that makes this one of the stand out cuts, that's for sure. The '80s rock of both 'Double 6, 55, Double 4' and Gillen on 'No Retreat, No Surrender' is still great to hear (especially on the ballad 'It Must Be Love').
The booklet features new liner notes, including new comments from Tom Galley, along with alternative artwork and rare pictures. The album cover is by Tim Davies (Tim Elcoch).
Phenomena III: Innervision from 1993 completes the all-star Phenomena trilogy, as created by Tom Galley, and features a much smaller army of willing and able rockers: Brian May; Scott Gorham; Michael Sturgis; Keith Murrell; and Leif Johansen.
Six years had now passed for Phenomena by the time their third album, Innervision, had been created. Featuring not as many guest rock musicians as previously he had, Galley this time opted for just a small handful.
Still, this enabled more playing time for the guitar Gods Brian May and Thin Lizzy's very own Scott Gorham to wreck musically perfected havoc on the 10 song collection.
1. 'Rock House'
3. 'What About Love?'
4. 'Into the Fire'
5. 'A Whole Lotta Love'
6. 'Secret of Love'
7. 'If You Want to Rock'
8. 'How Much Do You Love Me?'
9. 'Shape It Up'
10. 'Rock My Soul'
Returning from previous Phenomena concepts was drummer Michael Sturgis with keyboardist Leif Johansen also joining in when necessary. But, for the first time in the trilogy, there were no Glenn Hughes vocals on the album, something that Airrace singer Keith Murrell stood in for.
They open with the Foreigner-esque 'Rock House' with the Alcatrazz-esuq '80s synth in play on 'Banzai' backing it. The mid-tempo Journey-esque ballad 'What About Love?' (complete with Brian May’s undeniable contribution) is next and is backed by the delicious rocker 'Into The fire', with the slow-mo, Cliff Richard-esque ballad 'A Whole Lot Of Love' along next.
The rock is turned back up once more for both 'Secret Of Love' and the stand out cut from the album, for me, the anthemic 'If You Want To Rock' along next. The album then rounds out with the pop rock sensibility of 'How Much Do You Love Me?', the finger-snappin' John Parr-esque 'Shape It Up,' and then the stirring rock ballad 'Rock My Soul.'
The booklet features new liner notes, including new comments from Tom Galley, who has supplied the originally intended front cover artwork, which appears for the very first time ever!
'Phenomena' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link
'Phenomena II: Dream Runner' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link
'Phenomena III: Innervision' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link