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Phenomena

Phenomena

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an album that was originally released in 1984. The music here is decidedly AOR, but it leans far enough toward progressive rock that I think it qualifies for inclusion under prog, particularly considering the state of prog at the time. This act was formed by Tom Galley and his brother, Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley. Among the other musicians featured on this set are Don Airey, Glenn Hughes and Cozy Powell.

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
Kiss Of Fire
A keyboard oriented arrangement leads this out of the gate. The first vocals come in over the top of that. The track works along in that vein until some crunchy guitar joins. It modulates to more melodic rock than metal. It comes across as more of an AOR prog sound than anything else. This song is dramatic and quite powerful. It's a great way to start the set in style.
Still The Night
With a vocal based introduction section, this powers out into an 80s styled hard rock ballad approach. This works pretty well, but it pales in comparison to the opener. It has a very dated vibe to it. That said, the dramatic, dropped back movement has a mysterious texture that works so well. It even brings a bit of prog rock to the tune.
Dance With The Devil
A cool violin based arrangement leads this out. They rock it up into an AOR styled prog jam. As it drops for the vocals, it's more pure hard rock than anything else. The fast paced instrumental jam, though, has more of that killer Celtic prog sound. There are some great instrumental movements on this piece.
Phoenix Rising
Balladic picked guitar brings this number into being. This cut grows with a balladic approach that is decidedly proggy. This powers up a bit more to melodic proggy sounds.
Believe
Coming in rather tentatively, this powers out to a killer AOR rocker. It seems to have both prog and metal tendencies on hand. I really like this one a lot. In fact, it's one of my favorites here. After the three and a half minute mark this shifts gears completely and fires out into a killer metal jam. That movement doesn't stay around long, instead giving way to a return to the song proper.
Who's Watching You
Now, this one is a full on metal stomper. That said, there are still some proggy elements here, particularly in terms of the keyboard bits. This has some catchy hooks and really rocks. It's another highlight as far as I'm concerned.
Hell On Wings
There is a definite hard rocking edge built into this number. It's not quite metal, but decidedly metallic. Still, there are plenty of prog tendencies here, particularly in the classical elements that show up on the chorus. This is an AOR tune, but it's also meaty and so cool.
Twilight Zone
Prog and metallic elements are both on display on this number. It's an AOR rocker with plenty of 80s texture built into it in terms of overall sound. This is meaty and catchy and rocks.
Phenomena
The titular track for both the band and the act, there is some weird texture that opens this. Operatic vocals create a dense arrangement that is soundtrack like. This is the most decidedly prog thing on the whole disc. It never rises to the level of rock, and no instruments are added to the mix. It's a classy, if odd, way to end the set.
 
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