Phenomena started out as a music project, in 1983, by record producer Tom Galley along with his brother Mel Galley & Wilfried Rimensberger (Metalhammer magazine founder). They released 3 very successful albums in the next decade and gained much popularity for the quality of the music and the impressive guest appearances that every album had.
Later on the mid-00s Tom signed a contract with Escape music and he started releasing albums under the label: from Tom Galey the Creator of Phenomena. “Awakening” is the third and the last album that will be released from Escape music. Overall, this is to be considered the 6th release of the band… but as it is stated on the band’s official site… a collaboration between Tom and Wilfried is most possible to take place in the next months, so the new true Phenomena album will be in the making after almost 25 years. But, wait a moment what is ‘true” all about? Isn’t this album true? What is it? Is it a fake “Phenomena” work? If it is “fake”… why does Tom use the specific name and didn’t release the albums under a different one? Was it for the sake of publicity and for more sales? Anyway, I do not like reading nonsense like “true” Phenomena etc… music is music… and no one has the right to use a prosperous moniker for their own fame & fortune whenever they want it and then call it not “true”.
Thus, having said that… I shall only deal with the album and nothing more. The album line-up is quite impressive again as some great musicians are participating in it. The vocal duties have been handled by: Lee Small, Terry Brock, Rob Moratti, Ralf Scheepers, James Christian, Mike DiMeo, Niklas Swedentorn and Chris Andblad… while there’s a guest solo guitarist on every song … and precisely: on “Smash It Up”, Lee Small is on vocals, Mat Sinner on bass and Magnus Karlsson on lead guitars, on “Reality”, Toby Hitchcock is on vocals and Mike Slamer on lead guitars, on “Homeland”, Rob Moratti is on vocals and Martin Kronlund on all guitars, on “Going Away”, James Christian is on vocals, Tommy Denander & Martin Kronlund on guitars, on “Gotta Move”, Ralf Scheepers is on vocals and Christian Wolff &Tommy Denander on guitars, on “How Long”, Lee Small is again on vocals and Martin Kronlund on guitars, on “Shake”, Mike DiMeo is on vocals and Martin Kronlund on guitars, on “Fighter”, Terry Brock is on vocals and Steve Newman on guitars & backing vocals, on “Dancing Days”, Niklas Swedentorp is on vocals with all the Coldspell members and on “Stand Up For Love”, Chris Antblad is on vocals along with JAVA Gospel Choir.
The songs are mostly rock with some harder edge at times and other times some AOR influences… rather melodic with excellent performances and strong musicianship. The album sound is very rockin’ and tight… as the album was recorded and engineered by Martin Kronlund and produced by Tom Galley and Martin Kronlund. There are songs here for all kinds of mood and tastes but I believe that those that stand out are: “Smash It Up”, “Reality” (Mike’s solo is fantastic), “Homeland”, “How Long”, “Fighter” & the smooth ballad “If You Believe”. This album is on the same level with the previous one, “Blind Faith”… they both have some very strong songs and some OK ones… and they are also solid releases.