Smash it up...
Genre: hard rock
A hard rock super-group project of sorts, albums have sporadically been released under the Phenomena monicker since the mid-80s - sporadically indeed, because this is only the sixth album from Phenomena.
While drawing on different hard rock genres - and a couple of genres outside the realm of hard rock, Phenomena's core sound is very AOR-tinged, which means catchy choruses and a generally 80s-like commercial appeal. The music itself on this release is basically solid, and most tracks range - to my ears - from being quite okay to being very good. And, thus, "Awakening" is definitely a very enjoyable album, offering very melodic, but also hard rocking music. Thus, we have everything from quite heavy songs that venture into metal territory over all out AOR songs to big power ballads.
On the whole, I think that the songs on this album are very tasteful and well performed and well written, but I must admit that I find the closing ballad "Stand Up for Love" a tad too cheesy for me to enjoy it. There is not a single vad word to be said about the musicianship, but the main attraction of this album is probably the range of guest vocalist it features, such as Lee Small, Toby Hitchcock, Rob Moratti, and Ralf Scheepers and many more (especially the Moratti-fronted power ballad 'Homeland' is a very catchy and appealing track).
Fans of 80s oriented AOR-tinged hard rock definitely should check out Phenomena's "Awakening", which contains many goodies and reminds us that hard rock can definitely be tasteful and sophisticated.