Title - 'Phenomena: Anthology'
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.
With all three of those aforementioned Phenomena albums having been re-released as Definitive Editions in 2018, their legion of fans can now also enjoy these incredible rock performances under the one roof in this excellent best of one disc compilation entitled Anthology.
1. 'Still the Night'
2. 'Dance with the Devil'
3. 'Phoenix Rising'
4. 'Assassins of the Night'
5. 'Running with the Pack'
7. 'Did It All for Love'
8. 'Hearts on Fire'
9. 'Banzai' (Single Edit)
10. 'What About Love'
11. 'If You Want to Rock'
12. 'How Much Do You Love Me?'
13. 'Stealing Heaven'
14. 'Did It All for Love' (12" Remix)
15. 'Still the Night' (12" Remix)
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.
This Anthology features three of those tracks - 'Still The Night,' 'Dance With The Devil,' and 'Phoenix Rising' - along with final mixes of the rare tracks ‘Assassins in the Night’ and ‘Running with the Pack.’
From Phenomena II: Dream Runner (1987) we get just the three cuts from the original ten - 'Stop!,' 'Did It All For Love' and 'Hearts On Fire' - but they are, in truth, and in my own humble opinion, also the best of the bunch from the release.
Phenomena III: Innervision from 1993 completes the all-star Phenomena trilogy, and brings forth five cuts from the brilliant album - 'Banzai' (Single Edit), 'What About Love,' 'If You Want to Rock,' 'How Much Do You Love Me?,' and the final mix of the rare track 'Stealing Heaven.'
The bonus tracks included are the rare 12” Remix of ‘Did It All For Love’ along with the previously-unreleased 12” Remix of ‘Still The Night.
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'.
With a three year gap in place, and featuring a largely different group of rock musicians to aid them this time, Phenomena came back with tracks such as the brilliant 'Stop!' from Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath).
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.
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.
They completed their all-star Phenomena trilogy with 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 and most all these tunes 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!
The Alcatrazz-esqe '80s synth in play on 'Banzai' is as strong to hear now as it was to listen to for the first time back then with the mid-tempo Journey-esque ballad 'What About Love?' (complete with Brian May’s undeniable contribution) following along perfectly.
The stand out cut from that album is the anthemic 'If You Want To Rock' which is backed by the pop rock sensibility of 'How Much Do You Love Me?' and then the power pop rock of the rare track 'Stealing Heaven.'
Trust me, if you like Whitesnake, Journey, and other bands of the same musical ilk, this new Anthology is for you, my friends.
'Phenomena: Anthology' CD Purchase Link
'Phenomena' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link
'Phenomena II: Dream Runner' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link
'Phenomena III: Innervision' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link