Robert “Gaz” Stjärnström – vocals
Jonas “Gibli” Rörling – lead guitar, vocals
Tomi Luoma – rhythm guitar
Andreas “Gordon” Gerdin – bass
Niklas “Nicky” Karvonen – drums
Clocking in at 1 hour and 6 minutes, ‘Phantom Shadow’ is one of the longest records I’ve heard this year. The album consists of 5 interludes and 11 tracks. Songs like “Perfect Dark”, “The Second One” and “The Villain of This Story” are in the vein of traditional, catchy hard rock tunes; paying homage to Scorpions, Van Halen and Rainbow. Whereas “Throne of Games”, “Phantom Battle”, “Versus” and “Renegades” make for energetic power metal anthems. The duo performance of Jonas and Tomi on guitars is amazing and outstanding. “Europa” on the other hand is probably the most experimental track on the record. The song is a 7 minute operatic ballad with vibrant and symphonic acoustic guitar and epic violin sections. Robert’s vocal delivery on “Europa” is truly admirable. His clean vocals are melodic, yet soaring and gritty.
Sadly, the chiptune element of the band’s signature sound seems somewhat missing on this album. Only “Perfect Dark” and “Beyond Good and Evil” use the chiptune sound to its fullest extent. While most of the songs are catchy, they are also a little repetitive. The production is also brick-walled, causing a loss in the dynamics of the instruments.
‘Phantom Shadow’ is a sensational record featuring spectacular musicianship with impressive songwriting aptitude and great innovation. The vocals are fantastic, the guitar work is epic and marvellous; and despite having its flaws, the album makes for a pretty good listen.