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Phantom-X This Is War

This Is War
by Erika Wallberg at 14 March 2010, 1:03 PM

Sometimes it’s really hard to identify what’s missing with a record. PHANTOM-X should really be right in my taste and sure, “This Is War” is a quite cool Metal-record but after the first spin it was very little I remembered from the album. Even if everything is pretty much standard recipe, which should work anyway the songs are lost somehow. US Power Metal with a touch of the same German kind and a huge doze of classic Hard Rock should do the trick no matter what as long as it isn’t completely ripped off from other bands or totally lacks hit potential.

That’s not the case here. With PHANTOM-X it’s hard to pinpoint one or even few bands as influences, they’re a mix of a lot really. There’s a little of ACCEPT, RUNNING WILD, SAVATAGE, DIO, IRON MAIDEN over it all. One thing that can have to do with the songs not getting through though is the production. Metal and especially when Power is put in the front of it the music must have power. The performances from all of them are decent but there’s no attack what so ever. Randy Rhoads had this style of abusing his guitar too, but he still managed to keep the intensity and drive in the playing even when his music isn’t particularly heavy. Don’t know if it’s the riffs or actual guitar performance on the record that’s the issue though. Bill Engfer was hired as a guitar player on this release and compared to Eric Knudsen he’s absolutely a step backwards.

Both vocalist Kevin Goocher and bass player Glen Malicki have a past with US Metal Legends OMEN, perhaps not during their glory days but OMEN still has a lot stronger melodies than PHANTOM-X. Sometimes it feels like they’ve looked at what is cool with the massive arena gigs, with the easy sing-along chorus lines and when it feels studied and unnatural it just get pathetic. On the other hand, there are really good material on “This Is War” also, especially the ones with titles including a Chapter number and since this record includes 8-10 it’s an absolute must to check up the earlier ones also to get the whole story, if they’re unfamiliar.

The closer of the album, “Deep 6 Down (Chapter 10)” is the absolute highlight. Just a classic Metal tune with the drive of German Power and the depth of the US alike, it also has great vocal melodies with a catchy chorus. Kevin sounds his absolute best of the record and it’s sort of a shame it ends here. Perhaps some of the production got lost in the transfer to mp3 because looking at PHANTOM-X’s back catalogue it do sound better when it comes to performance and production. Or perhaps, the line-up change wasn’t for the better. But for fans of this band’s previous records this will be a nice addition in the collection because the record absolutely grows for each spin.

3 Star Rating

  1. Call To Arms
  2. This Is War
  3. Forever Midnight
  4. Chaos In Paradise
  5. Into Battle We Ride
  6. A Strange World (Chapter 8)
  7. Lord OF The Sword
  8. Twilight
  9. Blood Of Eden
  10. Discovery 2 (Chapter 9)
  11. Whore Of Babylon
  12. Cries In The Night
  13. Deep 6 Down (Chapter 10)
Kevin Goocher - Vocals
Richard Tull - Guitar
Glen Malicki - Bass
Steve Nichols - Drums
Record Label: Perris Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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