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Phantom Reign - No Hope for the Future (Reissue)

Phantom Reign
No Hope for the Future (Reissue)
by Kevin Lewis at 18 March 2023, 8:32 AM

PHANTOM REIGN is one of those bands that popped up, made a splash, then kind of went away. These guys have not been active since about 2005, though there is an offshoot band (LAST ONE STANDING) that continued after PHANTOM REIGN dissolved. The re-release of No Hope For The Future, with bonus tracks from their demo, was issued on Arkeyn Steel Records on March 24th 2023. There is a definite late-80s/early 90s sound to this record. The sound effects have an old-school feel to them and even the recording sounds older. This was recorded in an actual studio, not somebody’s house using software. The opening track, “Phantom’s Reign,” reminds me of some of the less mainstream Heavy Metal bands of that era. Good grooves and nice hooks, but lacking the top notch production of the bigger names.

Songs like “Love Is A Sweet, Sweet Thing” have hard hitting intros, then settle into a different rhythm after the lead in. Again, that was pretty prevalent in those days, so this fits the era. The guitars are good, but they tend to stick to fairly basic rhythms. Same goes for the bass and drums, but both of those do have their moments to shine. The lead work for the guitars is significantly better. The requisite ballad is “What Am I Supposed To Do.” The guitars are acoustic, the vocals subdued and a bit forlorn. This is the break up song where the guy finally realizes he had it good but lost her. This falls a little short of being a power ballad. The song just doesn’t grow itself enough to qualify for the “power” designator. It’s a good song, but not a true power ballad.

Tracks 13-18 are the deme versions of songs off the main release. Those were recorded in 1991, two years before the full-length album came out. It’s always interesting to hear the evolution of a song, so I do appreciate these being put on the re-release. You can tell the band grew in those two years. It makes you wonder what could have been of they kept going. What would they sound like today? No one really knows.

PHANTOM REIGN didn’t get the shot at the big time, probably coming out a little too late and a little too far from the main centers of gravity for Heavy Metal at the time. Illinois probably had a great scene at the time, but Seattle, was getting all the attention in the early 90s, so they would have needed to move, and then there was no guarantee of success because Grunge was taking up all the oxygen and airplay.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Phantom's Reign
2. She's A Living Nightmare
3. Foot In The Well
4. Love Is A Sweet, Sweet Thing
5. Walk The Line
6. What Am I Supposed To Do?
7. No Hope For The Future
8. I'm Wasted
9. Summertime
10. Concussion
11. Terror In The Streets
12. It's Not Over
13. She's A Living Nightmare*
14. What Am I Supposed To Do?*
15. Summer Time*
16. Love Is A Sweet, Sweet Thing*
17. Concussion*
18. It's Not Over*
Corey Lowry – Vocals
Alan Pangelinan – Bass
Jim Crane – Bass*
Luis Morales – Drums
Kevin Macdonald – Guitar
John Splett – Guitar
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records


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