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Midnight Phantom – Hollywood Dreams

Midnight Phantom
Hollywood Dreams
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 30 January 2021, 9:58 AM

MIDNIGHT PHANTOM is a Hard Rock/Metal/Glam duo out of Hannover, Germany. Inspired by their hometown heroes SCORPIONS and VICTORY, as well as other bands such as DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI, VAN HALEN, HELLOWEEN, and STEEL PANTHER, the duo formed the project MIDNIGHT PHANTOM in 2018. They are back now with their second release, titled “Hollywood Dreams,” which contains thirteen tracks.

“Forbidden Land” leads off the album. The opening harmonic vocals and riff remind me indeed of SCORPIONS. The riff isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, and the mid-tempo pacing reminds me of yesteryear. The chorus is rich and full, and Wsintek had an impressive vocal range. “Human Race” opens with a faster moving riff and some audible bass notes. The chorus is smooth and easy on the ears, and Wsintek really shows some pipes here. It ends with a cool fadeout. “Where I Belong” begins with acoustic guitars and smooth vocals. I like the bass guitar notes in the mix. It’s a 2020 version of a “power ballad.” We all miss those days for sure.

“Children of the 80s” begins with a simple riff and the bass guitar holding down the lower end. Spacey keys also make an appearance here. This song is catchy as fuck and will have you breaking out your jean jacket and acid washed jeans from the back of your closet. “Save Me” is a mid-tempo groover that opens with twin leads, and some keys. A key change before the guitar solo ushers in a new sound. “Order 666” begins with that classic 80’s charged, edgy riff. The lyrics might be a little cheesy, but hey, it’s the 80’s so…”Hollywood Dreams” is a mid-tempo rocker with plenty of backing vocals. It has a darker, more emotional sound to it. The guitar solo contains some real pyrotechnics.

“Heroes Never Die” is a slower, more poignant song, where Wsintek shows the softer, more soulful side of his voice. “There’s no reason to cry, ‘cause heroes never die” and “no need to say goodbye, ‘cause heroes never die” he croons. The guitar solo that follows the second chorus is right in key. “Silent Hunter” opens with a positive sound in equal does of guitars and keys. This song will get you up and off of your feet and joining the crowd in celebration. There are also some cowbell strikes here. “Voices of the Past” opens with a faster moving riff and some steady key notes. It’s got a catchy rhythm and a very well-done vocal performance. Heimbucher lays down another dazzling guitar solo.

“No More Lies” feature a burning fast pace, a-la ACCEPT or the like. It takes a darker turn in the chorus…this might be the first “miss” on the album for me. The two sounds just don’t connect well for me. “Local Hero” hears the band running out of steam just a bit. It’s got to be hard composing 13 songs on an album and coming up with enough original material to fill the LP. The vocals here however are very well done. “World Between Worlds” is a six-minute closing song. It opens with a slow groove and some clean, melancholic guitars and vocals. They turn it up in the chorus, really letting some emotions out.

This was an album full of nostalgia, and the duo really show some strong songwriting and performance chops, worthy of any 80’s band that you can think of. The songs are catchy, and the riffs will hook you. Wsintek’s voice is amazing as well. He can sing in the upper ranges with easy, and also the lower ranges with a smooth, smokey sound. I am glad this album came across my promos, because it keeps the 80’s alive and well…a time and a sound that I grew up with.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Forbidden Land
2. Human Race
3. Where I Belong
4. Children of the 80’s
5. Save Me
6. Order 666
7. Hollywood Dreams
8. Heroes Never Die
9. Silent Hunter
10. Voices of the Past
11. No More Lies
12. Local Hero
13. World Between Worlds
Lineup:
Christian Heimbucher – All Instruments
Stephan Wsintek – Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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