Phantom 5 isn’t the best or most descriptive band name I’ve heard, but it’s far from the worst. Featuring a powerful lineup of Michael Voss (guitars; Casanova, Bonfire, Mad Max) and Claus Lessmann (vocals, ex-Bonfire) along with popular German compadres Robby Boebel (guitars from Frontline) and Axel Kruse (drums from everyone) as well as Francis Buchholz on bass.
Touted as a natural follow up to the classic Bonfire Fireworks album, with a touch of Frontline and Jaded Heart, the expectations were therefore set to maximum from the outset.
Sorry guys, but while the potential is there, the songs don’t carry the legacy any further than that.
There’s too much one-tempo familiarity amongst the songs, not enough variety in style and frankly, not enough power in the choruses to knock anyone over.
The album does start strongly though. All The Way certainly has the classic feel of an album opener – a nice fast melodic hard rocker with a typically anthemic chorus.
A nice dose of keyboards and a choppy guitar riff drive the pacey Blue Dog while it gets moodier on Someday.
Don’t Touch The Night harks back to classic 80s Bonfire, even if it lacks a little of the dynamics of the original band.
Unfortunately that’s probably the best part of the album over with. The rest settles into a very safe, mid-tempo routine of riffs and raspy vocals, but nothing really stands out.
Renegade, Flying High, Frontline and We Both Had Our Time all have a good sound but fail to ignite when time for the chorus.
Since You’re Gone is a pretty decent rock ballad, but then it’s straight back into the unremarkable second half of this album.
They Won't Come Back is probably the pick of the second half – a better chorus and a nice sentiment on this track.
A solid effort, with expected good production from the always reliable Michael Voss, but the songs and urgency required to make an impact worthy of the personnel involved aren’t there.
A good start, but a fairly routine and safe second half strips back some of the appeal of this album.