With a cursory scan of the Internet, even before their first album is released, some are calling Phantasma a symphonic supergroup. There's good reason for some such speculation. Phantasma features the collaboration of founders, vocalist Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) and multi-instrumentalist and composer Oliver Philipps (Everon) with Charlotte Wessels (Delain). Honestly, their first album, The Deviant Hearts, based on a concept story by Neuhauser, will likely live up to the hype.
First off, I have no information about the story behind the album. According to press material The Deviant Hearts novella will be included with the CD package.
As for the music, it's everything you might expect, especially from Philipps: large arrangements, at times mellow then symphonic and bombastic, yet revolving around the concept, but more importantly, Neuhauser and Wessels' vocal arrangements. You get that straight from top with Incomplete where the focus is immediately upon their voices in duet over quieter music. Call it a match made in symphonic rock/metal heaven. They sound terrific together, and everywhere on this album.
Other examples are the epic anthems Try and The Sound Of Fear, which soar from both the vocals and the large symphonic atmosphere, not to mention Philipps' guitar solos, which is massive in the latter. Sometimes songs narrow the vocal focus. For instance, Runaway Gray is more Wessels, wheras Crimson Course presents Neuhauser. Yet in both, they eventually work together. Crimson Course is also an example of how Philipps merges the immenseness of orchestration with AOR rock groove, all the while allowing the vocal arrangements to carry the melody. To other arrangements, for the pure extravagence of symphonic heavier metal, Let It Die (watch below), Enter Dreamscape, and Miserable are devestating, the triple threat of being lavish, bombastic, and engaging. These are the kind of songs that blow up concert halls and leave mouths dropping (that is if they can actually do this live).
Needless to say, I was impressed. Is this something novel or far removed from other entries in the genre? Not really. But Phantasma has one thing up on all the other symphonic metal bands, especially those with female vocalists at the forefront: the absolutely perfect match, perfect balance, of both female and male lead vocalists with Neuhauser and Wessels. Bravo. Another bonus: the guy isn't doing death vocals. So common with male/female vocals in performance. Thank you so very much. Hey, it's all good. Phantasma's The Deviant Hearts is terrific and very recommended.
Phantasma has one thing up on all the other symphonic metal bands, especially those with female vocalists at the forefront: the absolutely perfect match, perfect balance, of both female and male lead vocalists with Neuhauser and Wessels. Phantasma's The Deviant Hearts is terrific and very recommended.
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