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Phenomena

Phenomena II - Dream Runner

Review by Gary Hill

Given the scope of musicians on this set, I'm shocked I've never heard of these guys before. This is a reissue of an album released in 1987. This band was formed by Tom Galley along with this brother Mel Galley who is best known as the guitarist in Whitesnake. The album features a number of guest vocalists, in the persons of Max Bacon, Ray Gillen, Glenn Hughes and John Wetton. While not everything here is metal, there is enough of it that qualifies for me to land this there. This does have a bit of a dated 1980s sound, but it's mostly just enough to allow this to serve as a flash of nostalgia. While nothing here is particularly unique, it's hook laden and meaty enough stand up pretty well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Stop
Cool keyboard textures and more create a dramatic introduction. Smoking hot metallic guitar joins, augmenting the arrangement. The cut powers out to some screaming hot metal from there. This has a real 80s vibe, but more in terms of the production. It's meaty with both some proggy AOR elements on display and some real metal. Yet it also has some meaty hooks. The guitar solo is scorching on this. The vocalist on this is Ray Gillen of Badlands fame.
Surrender
The AOR metal elements here are dated now, but really strong at the same time. This is still a strong tune with some great hooks. Glenn Hughes provides the vocals on this number.
Did It All For Love

More of a balladic cut, this feels a lot like the band Asia to me, but the fact that John Wetton is doing the lead vocals probably has a lot to do with that. The sound of this one is more timeless than the sound of the first couple cuts was. The chorus section has a bit of a metal edge, but is even more Asia-like at the same time.

Hearts On Fire
Glenn Hughes is back here. This cut has a more mainstream rock sound, but still enough of that metallic edge to keep fiery. I like guitar fills on this thing a lot. The chorus has a lot of 80s trademarks built into it.
Jukebox
Max Bacon of GTR fame is the singer on this tune. It has a real 80s rocking sound. It is accessible and powerful. I love the metallic guitar soloing on the number, and the whole tune is tasty, if a bit dated.
Double 6, 55, Double 4
An AOR metal vibe drives this screaming hot rocker. I love the guitar soloing on the piece. Glenn Hughes returns to provide the vocals here.
No Retreat - No Surrender
With Ray Gillen back, this is a killer metal stomper that has a bit of an 80s sound, but is more timeless than that makes you think. This is very much AOR metal, with solid hooks and screaming guitar. This might be my favorite tune here.
Move - You Lose
More of a pop metal vibe drives this stomper. Ray Gillen is the vocalist here, too. The tune has some solid hooks and is an AOR standout. Again, I love the guitar soloing.
Emotion Mama
The guitar riff that opens this makes me think of something that might have come from Motley Crue. The tune is another solid AOR metal stomper. It's nothing overly unique, but it really rocks. The vocals are again provided by Ray Gillen.
It Must Be Love
With a dramatic, mellower arrangement, if the whole album were like this, I'd probably land it under progressive rock. There is almost a fusion element to the bass sound on the piece. Max Bacon is the singer on this piece.
 
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