Victims of the Sea

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Rob Mules Records, 2018)

Karakter: 3/6

Phandrom cover.jpgThe Norwegian entity bearing the name Phandrom consists of four skilled dudes who clearly know their way around a musical instrument and this debut offering of theirs entitled "Victims of the Sea" is comprised of six relatively long and dynamic compositions that harken back to late 70s/early 80s hard rock and heavy metal. One can tell that these guys are in large part inspired by the majestic Dio-fronted eras of Rainbow and Black Sabbath, which is obviously a good thing, but although there is a lot of potential and some wicked ideas to be found on this record of theirs, they have some way to go in terms of honing their songwriting skills and crafting tunes with an enduring quality to them. For one thing, the vocals are a little uneven and never reach those stratospheric heights that are required to match the dynamics of the music. Another thing is that the disc fails to capture the imagination. Many of the riffs and melodies would not have been out of place on Sabbath's brilliant "Mob Rules" opus, DIO's enchanting "Holy Diver" record, or Rainbow's glorious "Long Live Rock 'n Roll" masterstroke, and there are some highly memorable and catchy ones to be found on this disc of Phandrom's, but they lack bone-crunching power. The warm and organic production is decent, but "Victims of the Sea" needs more drama and there is no real climax to any of the compositions. The tracks could have been so much more than they are. Having said that, quite a few parts and sections do manage to attain an epic and majestic atmosphere, namely in "The Gift" and "They All Had (Something From You)", which are undoubtedly some of the strongest tunes to be found on the album. The standout cut is the driven and energetic "Spark in the Dark", which brings to mind Rainbow's slightly more polished and commercial albeit superb 80s outputs with Joe Lynn Turner at the vocal helm and DIO's "The Last in Line" LP.

My main gripe with "Victims of the Sea" is that it lacks originality and identity, almost as if Phandrom lack a voice of their own, but who is to say that what we are witnessing here is not merely the beginning of something that could potentially turn into a frightening old-school hard rock monster? Time will tell. If Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and to some extent Yngwie Malmsteen appeal to you, then this might be right up your alley, but do not expect anything revolutionary, innovative, or mind-blowingly awesome here, okay?

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