Quite recently we reviewed the new Melted Space album, which was a grotesque record with no less than seventeen guest musicians and vocalists. It didn’t make that much of a devastating impression, but the music was amazing. And now there’s Phantasma, the product of the soul of only three people. Backed up by an entire 100 page novel by Delain vocalist Charlotte Wessels, here’s ‘The Deviant Hearts’, and it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.
The core of Phantasma exists of three people. Charlotte Wessels, the voice of symphonic metal band Delain, Georg Neuhauser, vocalist for Serenity and the multi-instrumentalist and producer Oliver Philipps, who also happens to sing with Everon. When Neuhauser sought out Philipps to realize his ambition of making a story based concept album, the first person Philipps had in mind to join was Charlotte. As Philipps worked with her band Delain from their very first record, she was quite a logical choice.
And I never shunned to say that I’m very proud of the great symphonic music and bands that pop up in the Netherlands. Delain had always been a bit of a small fry to me, a very good band, but just not getting the attention and the praise they needed. With the Phantasma project, Charlotte Wessels might just kick herself, and her band, into a new group of fans. The album that ‘The Deviant Hearts’ has become is straight up amazing.
Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of “supergrouping”? With guest vocals by Evergrey mainman Tom Englund, Cloe Lowery, one of the voices of Transsiberian Orchestra and Van Canto’s Dennis Schunke, this album is almost . Every track deserves a positive remark and each and every moment on this album is very diverse. Opening track ‘Incomplete’ is a sensitive, short ballad with only a piano and two people singing to each other.
Title track ‘The Deviant Hearts’ mixes in Tom Englund for the first time, erupting out of some acoustic guitars. It’s very much a classical symphonic metal track, but the delivery is very powerful and the addition of Englund really elevates the track to another level. From this moment on, the beautiful vocals of Charlotte Wessels becomes the constant throughout this epic record. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The deep, dark ‘Runaway Gray’ almost sounds like Adele’s ‘Skyfall’, while the refrain is a lot lighter and higher. With semi-ballad ‘Try’ as the more modern track, with an outstanding vocal delivery by Cloe Lowery, which makes the album sound somewhat more balanced. That’s what’s so good about the record. It harbors all these different kinds of music. The more mainstream sound, classical symphony and beautiful ballads.
My absolute favorite of this record is the tear jerking beauty that is ‘The Lotus And The Willow’. It’s an amazing slow, deep ballad that really messes with your emotions. With a brilliant combination of the dark, deep male vocals and the lighter, yet still powerful female appearance. Every time this track comes along, I cannot resist singing along, while occasionally holding back some, let’s call them wet eyes.
With ‘The Deviant Hearts’, Phantasma launches its first record into the list of best symphonic metal albums ever made. ‘The Deviant Hearts’ is a fantastic work of music, it’s diverse in musical approach, changing from classical symphonic, to Queen inspired tracks and more modern sounds. A record that deserves nothing but praise, love and lots of runs through your speakers. Charlotte Wessels, Georg Neuhauser and Oliver Philipps have really outdone themselves this time. This is absolutely one of the best record I’ve heard this year.
Released: The 20th of November 2015
Record-label: Napalm Records
- The Deviant Hearts
- Runaway Gray
- Enter Dreamscape
- Miserable Me
- The Lotus And The Willow
- Crimson Course
- Carry Me Home
- The Sound Of Fear
- Let It Die