Released: 2010, Escape Music
Some of the older readers might have been familiar with Phenomena back in the mid-80’s. It was an interesting and ambitious series of three prog-metal concept albums, spearheaded by Tom and Mel Galley of Trapeze, Whitesnake and other iconic UK rockers. I have fond memories of the first two albums, but in reality the project did not light the world on fire. A couple of years back they fired it up again and released PSYCHOFANTASY.
So here we go again, with another kick at the can in 2010 for the continuing saga. I personally love multi-singer, concept albums. I find that the singer in a band is so often the focal point that is even more interesting to hear different singers play different characters or sing certain types of songs, outside their regular bands. Fortunately for me this album is loaded with guest stars. Ralf Scheepers, Mike DeMeo, Terry Brock, Robin Beck and many more including Tony Martin. It’s good to hear his voice again.
Musically speaking this is middle-of-the road Melodic Hard Rock and Metal done in the finest British traditions. What does that mean? It’s pretty elegant and classy, not too weird or overly progressive. The songs are interesting and engaging but don’t get frantic, too evil, too heavy, thrashy…just classic metal. The musicans on board who actually play on the album are some veterans. Maybe the names aren’t as familiar to some ‘Metal Heads’ but you have guys like Imre Daun (Gypsy Rose, Alien and White Wolf) on drums, have a dozen different guitarists and Mat Sinner on bass. A lot of talent got loaded into this album! We have some nice acoustic guitar work, some keyboards even hints of what sounds like a flute, lots of musical spice has been added to the mix.
BLIND FAITH is a little shorter and more streamlined than many of these types of projects, some of which can get pretty listening intensive. 10 well arranged songs at 45 minutes with clear production make this a pleasure to listen to. A potential, minor draw-back of these types of projects are that there could be a lack of continuity with a different voice on every song. If you are not interested or following the concept it could come across as a collection of singles. That’s OK because all of these songs could easily stand as a single. I dislike labeled music by ‘era’ but in this case songs like the mid-tempo, semi-ballad ‘I Was going To Tell You Tonight’, (featuring robin Beck) could have come out in 1985. It wouldn’t have been out of place on a Heart album. Naturally that will put a smile on my face a mile-wide here a quarter of a century later in 2010.
I’m very impressed and delighted that Tom Galley has kept this institution alive. I’ll be enjoying this album for years to come and with any luck it will be less than four years until we get the next installment.