The Gems – Phoenix

Swedish rock beauties The Gems strip heavy rock back to its 80s sound with the release of their debut album Phoenix.

Being faced with 16 tracks to review, I begin to worry about hearing repetition and becoming bored through the album. Although, admittedly, some songs are stronger than others, I can’t say I disliked any of them. A few were interludes, which split the songs well, and there’s an added acoustic version of Like a Phoenix at the end, which I enjoyed more than the original.  

As I said, I enjoyed all the songs. There isn’t an overpowering by distortion and synths, and the lyrics are clear and strong. Guernica Mancini’s vocals are incredibly powerful, and I loved the guitar solos by Demona scattered within the album, and the bassline of Kiss It Goodbye I thought carried the song. The drums of Emlee Johansson tie the album together, they’re snappy and fast – and they give the songs the oomph that they need. 

I particularly enjoy the first interlude Aurora. An opening shanty that creates the power intended within the album and introduces the concept of rising again. Queens follows it perfectly and is one of my favourites. I love girl power anthems, and Queens is absolutely one of them. A good one at that. Although, once again, there are few songs of power through the album, including power ballad Ease Your Pain.  

A classic heavy rock album about bouncing back and owning your power. With beautiful vocals, and great instruments. Phoenix is out now, available to stream and buy.  

Vicki Evans

February 29, 2024

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