PHENOMENA – Blind Faith (2024 Remastered Version) *HQ*
The melodic rock fans among you who are over a certain age will no doubt remember Tom Galley’s PHENOMENA project. Phenomena featured a host of rock stars, creating impressive line-ups across three releases between 1984 and 1993.
While many of the Phenomena cast featured no introduction (Glenn Hughes, Cozy Powell and Mel Galley being heavily featured; even Queen’s Brian May found time to contribute), the project also gave increased exposure to a few lesser known performers, including Max Bacon (GTR, Bronz) and Keith Murrell (Airrace, Mama’s Boys).
In 2006, some thirteen years after that third instalment, Tom Galley revived the Phenomena project. The resulting album, ‘Psychofantasy’, featured contributions from Glenn Hughes, Keith Murrell and Tony Martin once again.
Four years on and with a lyrical theme of good against evil, “Blind Faith” was the 5th instalment in the Phenomena story, and the first not featuring entirely Tom Galley’s brother Mel on guitar, who sadly died in 2008, although his presence is still here in the form of two co-written numbers and some rhythm guitars.
Now Escape Music is releasing this much needed “Blind Faith (2024 Remastered Version)” to enjoy the album again in all its glory.
“The Sky Is Falling” begins the musical journey with a heavy yet melodic offering, pairing Riot/Masterplan vocalist Mike DeMeo with Vindictiv/Firecracker guitarist Stefan Lindholm. A quiet intro leads into a classic rock arrangement with slow pounding drums. DeMeo’s slightly raspy delivery sits well against the backing vocals on the chorus, while his big vocal style is well suited to the piece as a whole.
You’d think since the title track features the vocalist and guitarist from Saga, the performance would have ended up with a bit of a proggy slant, but Tom Galley’s song-writing style is so deeply rooted in an old classic rock vein, there’s nothing really prog happening here. However, a Celtic jig creeping in between vocal sections adds an element of surprise. Rob Moratti’s vocal is neat while Ian Crichton’s guitar work adopts a slighty dirty tone and rocks with his typical flashiness.
“Liar” opens with a slab of keyboards which set the tone for a track featuring Stefan Lindstrom’s bombastic guitar stylings (marking his second performance here). Ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin’s vocals are equally bombastic in places, with a strong performance during the verses.
Contender for best track, “I Was Gonna Tell You Tonight” is a fantastic fist-in-the-air piece of AOR with Robin Beck at the helm. This is an equal match for most of the material from her classic ‘Trouble Or Nothin’ album from ’89 and her slightly husky vocal is a perfect match for Jim Kilparick and Martin Kronlund’s guitar work. This gem is a four minute reminder of why you still like melodic rock and probably have done since the eighties.
“If You Love Her” begins with a slow and brooding riff manages to be both heavy and melodic. Guitarist Tommy Denander’s work here is simple and direct and Chris Ousey (of Heartland and Virginia Wolf fame) is in fine voice. His strong lead provides this number with a key feature as his powerful lead vocals act as call-and-response with a simple harmony vocal.
Steve Overland (FM) takes lead on “Don’t Ever Give Your Heart Away”, a track which is good enough to stand alongside Robin Beck’s performance. A very traditional sounding melodic rock tune, and very very well done.
Also Terry Brock’s performance is another winner. It may not have Mike Slamer’s golden touch, but “One More Chance” could sit alongside some of the material on his fantastic ‘Diamond Blue’ solo album. With a musical arrangement which is faster than mid-pace, though never reaches the heights of pure rocker, Terry turns in a great vocal on a number which boasts one of this album’s strongest choruses. Steve Newman is the featured guitarist here, and he offers great support in a classic, clean-toned style.
“Blind Faith (2024 Remastered Version)” features excellent all-star performances from Robin Beck, Terry Brock, Chris Ousey and Steve Overland, hot guitar work (thanks to the at the time ‘new golden boy’ Martin Kronlund) and pristine production.
It definitely becomes worth forty minutes of your listening time, over and over again.
01. The Sky Is Falling (Mike DeMeo & Stefan Lindholm)
02. Blind Faith (Rob Moratti & Ian Crichton)
03. Fighting (Ralf Scheepers & Mat Sinner)
04. Liar (Tony Martin & Stefan Lindholm)
05. I Was Gonna Tell You Tonight (Robin Beck)
06. Angels Don’t Cry (Mikael Erlandsson)
07. If You Love Her (Chris Ousey & Tommy Denander)
08. House Of Love (Rob Moratti)
09. Don’t Ever Give Your Heart Away (Steve Overland)
10. One More Chance (Terry Brock & Steve Newman)
Martin Kronlund – Guitars, Bass
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitars
Imre Daun – Drums, Percussion
Dan Helgesen – Keyboards, Hammond
Henrik Thomsen – Bass
Produced by Tom Galley
In Memory Of Mel Galley (R.I.P. 1948 – 2008)