PHANTOM 5 – Phantom 5 (2016)
With their self-titled debut out this week on Frontiers Music, super-group PHANTOM 5 will shake your melodic hard rock foundation with a bang of an album.
Formed by some German Melodic Hard Rock luminaries including former Bonfire singer Claus Lessmann, ex Frontline guitarist Robby Boebel, former Scorpions bassist Francis Bucholz and ex Jaded Heart drummer Axel Kruse – along with Michael Voss (Casanova, Bonfire, Mad Max, Schenker), the band bring back the classic ’80s / ’90s sounds with a very special atmosphere.
“Phantom 5”, the album, sounds like a follow up to the famous Bonfire ‘Fireworks’ record with a touch of Frontline meets Jaded Heart groove. It is a driving monster with huge walls of guitars, powerful soaking drums and fine catchy melodies.
Every single tune here rocks in an old-fashioned way but with a huge updated production, and is heavenly influenced by the above mentioned bands.
As ‘conductor’, Michael Voss has added some American elements as well givin’ an extra push to the final result and, in my opinion, there is no filler in sight.
Songs like “Blue Dog”, “All The Way”, “Someday” and “They Won’t Come Back” are perfect samples of Phantom 5’s music; catchy, melodious, with amazing guitar licks, strong arrangements and powerful performances.
The harder-edged “Don’t Touch the Night” of course echoes the title of that first Bonfire release, and musically kick some serious ass.
But of course it doesn’t end there: “Renegade” is a great midtempo rocker that simmers with restrained power and has a real Scorpions-like feel to it, whilst “Flying High” adds some more grunt and ups the guitar.
The mood changes for the anthemic ballad “Since You’re Gone”. It’s just what Bonfire was so adept at: the steel and the silk, slipping seamlessly from stadium rocker to ‘lights aloft’ ballads and it works just as well for Phantom 5.
One of many highlights is the aforementioned “They Won’t Come Back”, a powerful mid-paced rocker which namechecks some of hard rock’s lost stars.
“Phantom 5” is a big, huge sounding Melodic Hard Rock album with a sharp twin guitar attack, punchy rhythm section and very good vocal melodies.
As unit, Phantom 5 feels tight, powerful, delivering timeless straight-up melodic hard rock with an edge and then folded into an AOR wrapper.
There is a strong early Bonfire vibe all over mostly due of Lessmann’s vocals (who is in a true good form), that’s making this debut a must have for each and every single fan of this legendary German band.
It would be one of the best classic Melodic Hard Rock releases of the year, no doubt about it.
01. All The Way
02. Blue Dog
04. Don’t Touch The Night
06. Flying High
07. Since You’re Gone
08. They Won’t Come Back
10. We Both Had Our Time
12. Sing Along (Digital Bonus Track)
Claus Lessmann – lead vocals
Michael Voss – guitars and vocals
Robby Boebel – guitars
Francis Buchholz – bass
Axel Kruse – drums