PHOENIX REIGN - DESTINATION UNKNOWN (Independent)
(Review by Patrick De Sloover)
The band Phoenix Reign originally started as Phoenix, during a vacation in Greece, and after both members lay the foundation, Billy Chrissochos (guitars) and Chris Pollatos (Bass) got in touch with the other members that were found in and around the New York City area. The present line up consists of three out of five members that are Greek, so there's a definite Hellenic base. At that time, the band had one demo behind the belt and opened for many major acts like Lynch Mob, Voodoo Lounge and Castle Heights. Started as a band in 1998, gaining a lot of success at their live shows, the first setback occurred around 2002 when Eugene (Vocals) left the band. This major line up change, adding Theresa Gaffney behind the microphone in stead of male predecessor Eugene Siouzios, resulted in an extra boost and energy that pushed the band in the right direction.
The next goal with this new line up was writing and composing material for a first full length album that was scheduled to be released early 2007. Although the members started working on that debut late 2005, they took the time to evaluate and assess the songs and material with a pure objective point of view. This move was purposive and goal-oriented and results in an album that contains songs that are above the average of what we hear nowadays.
''Destination Unknown'' has an amusing and maintaining instrumental opener named 'The Gates Of Bosphorus' which introduce us to these talented musicians. Although the duration of this opener is a bit too brief with only 51 seconds, it can be defined as a cool appetizer. The first real track 'Transcendent' sets the tone immediately. Great heavy metal, with varied vocals, breaks, twists and turns that combines all elements and strongest points of this band. If my information is correct, this track was picked as single release, and I can only acclaim their choice.
At your own discretion you can choose from songs that vary in a playing time of 3 minutes up to 11 minutes, and in this last track 'Constantinople 1453' we get a band in optima forma. Probably the anthem of the band that covers the whole idea and musical craftsmanship of all members. Those that have lyrical interest should take the time to discover all threads and topics. Theresa's voice has a real Heavy Metal charisma, with a lot of conformity of Pat Benatar, albeit more deeper and aggressive yet melodic. Let's conclude that both elements of music and voice go hand in hand.
Purposive questions and answers can be obtained in the detailed interview that we did with guitarplayer Billy Chrissochos earlier this year. Of course, it's worthy to check this band's homepage and order their magnum opus at www.phoenixreign.com
My rating: 91 / 100