Michele Madden, Michelle Meldrum, Gene Hoglan, Laura Christine
Review-The good news to this cd release is this is the first new music from them in almost 5 years; the bad news is founder and ex Phantom Blue guitarist Michelle Meldrum passed away in 2008 before this cd could be completed. The remaining three members decided to try and finish this cd with bassist Laura Christine who did the remaining lead and rhythm guitar parts to help finish this record. This cd opens up with a little spoken word like telling us that Cunt, C U N T is a term of endearment which cuts to opening track A toast to romance this is one of those songs that will get fans stoked it has this insanely cool guitar riff and Gene doing what Gene does best on the drums. And the vocals are nothing like what I was expecting it sounded like Drain STH on steroids. This song is pretty heavy and sort of paints the wrong picture, people are going to think this is going to be a straight forward metal assault and this cd is so diversified that some may be shocked how this cd changes song to song in both direction and sound, and then the next song starts to slow down things a little into Blackened Blue that has this riff that sounds right out of the mid tempo Pantera formula. And then we get to song 3 Paid, and it sounds like what you would expect from Phantom Blue in a reunion, if Gene was their touring drummer. It has that alternative rock feel, the sing a long chorus, and the hard rock riffs and pounding drums, and the rebellious screams of Kiss my Ass. Money Shot is a weird attempt at Nu Metal that felt odd, but so far with this cd each song is very different than the last one.
The next song is 68 Blonde which I am thinking is dedicated to Michelle and comes across with a touch of southern metal riffs with almost a Life Of Agony approach to the singing. This cd is straight forward hard rock with metal tinges and a lot of attitude that show us glimpses of a band that maybe this cd is not so much about setting the music world afire but more of a dedication to a fallen band mate. And for her this is a great tribute that each song showcases the strengths of this band and while all the songs are not hit out of the park homeruns, this cd has enough good things going for it like the musicianship and the vocal delivery that fans will have fun with this release while they celebrate a musician that was taken from us way too soon head banging and getting into the music, the way Michelle would have wanted it.
8 out of 10