by Progressive World
It has taken German band Everon a mere three years to finally deliver Fantasma their fourth album. Those three years were a difficult period for the band, in that they saw guitarist Ralf Janssen leave the band, whilst roadie Detlef Dohmen was killed in a car crash. Not only is this new album dedicated to the memory of Dohmen, the main theme of "loss" is spread all over the album.
From a musical perspective the Everon sound is very much identical to the one we have known since Paradox, Flood and Venus. It's the first album with new guitarist Ulli Hoever and, although the general sound leans more towards that of prog-metal, the Everon sound is mainly a bombastic, full sound that is a result of the band's involvement with legendary drummer E. Roc (from Grobschnitt fame). What they learned from E. Roc during the recording of Paradox and Flood they were able to use when they built their own Spacelab studio. Whilst Venus might be seen as the first experiment in that very studio, Fantasma can be seen as the logical continuation.
Once again a short title, another fabulous sleeve designed by Gregory Bridges, and another healthy dose of powersympho with the rare voice of Oliver Philipps to lead us through the dark woods of symphonic rock. There are fewer instances of keyboards being used as solo instrument because the guitar is really dominating this release. Keyboards are mainly used in the background to create a real wall of sound. Listen to "Fine With Me", which is a true rocker which the Scorpions would have been proud of!
The main trademark of Everon is the use of orchestral arrangements in their music. Listen to "A Day By The Sea" to fully explore what I mean. In fact it would be a treat to one day see this band perform with a full orchestra, as their music is so powerful. This "heavy" approach is very dominant in the title track "Fantasma," which in fact consists of five parts. The acoustic interventions in "The Real Escape" and "Ghosts" really prove the band's professionalism and class. One of my favourites has to be the instrumental "Battle Of Words" filled with interesting piano interventions plus classical acoustic guitar. Another highlight certainly has to be "May You," which has Oliver Philips' shine, whilst once again the bombastic arrangement offers a superb string section. New member Ulli Hoever shines throughout "Ghosts-intro" with a very strong chorus. Track 13 (coincidence?) "Ghosts" ends with the sound of a heart, heavy breathing, and the noise of electronic equipment in a hospital which suddenly switches over to alarm when the heart stops beating. Maybe a bit too realistic a tribute towards their friend Detlef Dohmen!
With Fantasma, Everon makes up for three lost years in one single blow!
John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg