Label: Frontiers 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Super-group. Merely reading the words out loud is usually enough to send a shiver down the spine. But, it's generally not a good feeling rather than a premonition of bitter disappointment and many a harsh words. Phantom 5, consisting of German Melodic Hard Rock stars: vocalist Claus Lessmann (Bonfire), guitarists Michael Voss (Bonfire, Casanova, Jaded Heart, etc) & Robby Böbel (Frontline), bassist Francis Buchholz (Scorpions) and drummer Axel Kruse (Jaded Heart) are definitely worthy of the super-group tag.
More importantly... with their self-titled debut at Frontiers, they're not trying to be something they're not. Nothing strange, weird, or out of the ordinary. Just catchy and powerful rock that will instantly light up your day and mood. If you're ever been into the songwriting team of Böbel/Lessmann/Voss' previous acts, you're definitely going to enjoy this. It's very much like a split three ways of the classic sound from Bonfire/Frontline/Jaded Heart.
True Teutonic Rock and some tracks such as opener "All The Way" truly scream and wail, touching close to Bonfire's Fireworks territory. While others are even more keyboard orientated (Blue Dog), coming across like an even better and stronger version of Frontline. And for the record. The refrain of the latter is just perfectly strange and beautiful. Sure enough. You may recognize choruses such as "Someday" with its message and chant of 'Someday, somehow, somewhere. Our hearts will meet again'. But they've done it with grace and style and the tinklings of ebony/ivory goes straight to the heart. Tinkling? It's carpet bombing really.
I love the raspy tone of "Renegade" as Lessmann rip and shred through the song like a... ehh, ripping and shredding machine? Excellent melodic metal anthem. "They Won't Come Back", another shock to the system with its dead rock heroes theme. The 21 guns salute and tribute to the likes of Bon Scott, RJ Dio, Jani Lane, etc, etc. Just as good as the Bonfire masterpiece of Fireworks? Not quite there. Nonetheless, head and shoulder above most of the melodic releases in 2016. Highly Recommended.