Klassik 78 – Phantoms
Phantoms, ghosts, spectors, whatever you want to call them, this is a past one can get into. Before this begins let’s just talk KISS for a second. The heyday is over. That is a fact. Will there be a KISS 2.0? Maybe, but after hearing Klassik 78, one can think there already is.
The term tribute band is thrown around a lot when talking about KISS, but would it apply here with Klassik 78? You could say yes because they are hitting a target audience of KISS fans, but they don’t wear the makeup and costumes, they don’t do covers of past songs either. This is a group of fans that took the classic sound of side 4 of Alive II and created their tunes in that vibe. They do remain under a shroud of mystery however with their identities being unknown. Also, it is uncanny however how much they do sound like the original masked rockers (back in the day) with their voices.
Side Three (Kind of)
Phantoms is the third release from Klassik 78, their first EP, simply titled Side One came out in 2017, and the fans just clamoured over each other to get it, and instantly wanted more. Klassik 78 heard this, and in the true KISS style later released another in the same year titled Side Two. Again, the fans enjoyed another great album. Phantoms is bound to be yet another hit for the guys in Klassik 78 and a smash with the fans.
The Initial Rush
Like most early albums from KISS, this album from Klassik 78 comes in at around 30 mins. Not a rock opera for sure, but who cares. So, keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, things are just getting started.
“Show Me Your Love”, you’d wonder why things are starting off with a ballad, but it is not. In the vein of “Rock Bottom”, it has that soft vocals and acoustic style guitar before flipping that switch and tearing the roof off. The singer, let’s just say Paul for the sake of argument, delivers some punch vocals, and the guitars and drums pound along with him.
This is followed up by the Gene song. “Fever Dreams” could have been pulled right of the Rock and Roll Over Demos. This track also has a Gene 1978 solo album style to it. Fun and catchy, but not the strongest on the album.
Our Ace song comes in third on the album. “Smoke & Mirrors” is pure spaceman. Not so much from the 1978 solo album sound, but more like side 4 from Alive II. This has it all, great solos, that swagger and sloppiness in the playing, everything a fan wants from their favourite bad boy guitarist. “Queen of Hearts” slides in with some guitar and steady drums. This is what seems to be a duet from our band frontmen (yes plural), then our regular frontman takes control again except on the chorus. Hard to say where this track’s inspiration comes from but an absolute killer tune.
So, at this point, if you haven’t heard Klassik 78 before, might understand what is meant by tribute. This is the way you pay tribute! Be original, but still be honest about who you love. Also, we are halfway through the album. You might say we finally reached the top of the colossal roller coaster and are rushing down the other side.
“Whatcha Gonna Do” is that perfect song combination between the Demon and the Spaceman. Great riffs here combined with some great lyrics, and singing, this might be this writer’s favourite song on the album. However, the follow-up, “Living Fantasy (Tonight)” is a close second. A true Starman classic with that true 1978 solo album sound, (as you might all recall, out of the original 1978 solos, Paul’s was the most KISS sounding) and this hits the nail right on the head.
End Of The Ride
Pulling the train back into the station, we can see the end of the ride coming. “Walk That Walk” has a great guitar intro and a strut kind of feel to it. Another duet-styled track this track has a very catchy swagger to it and is a fun track. You can almost see this on a live stage with the mic being pointed out to the crowd for a sing-along session.
Lastly, as the ride pulls to a stop is “Rock n’ Roll Over”. The first track from Klassik 78 is named after an actual KISS album. Not only that but it literally could have been on that album. It wouldn’t be considered the strongest track on the album, but it’s still a blast. It has a “Love Em, Leave Em” feel to it all throughout.
The Phantoms have left the Park
This album, much like the complete Klassik 78 catalogue, just leaves me smiling, and wanting more. To a KISS fan, this is more what I love to hear. Many KISS fans are so divided about eras, replacing members, and so on, but it’s always about the music, and while the original band isn’t doing new music for its fans, it’s great that bands like Klassik 78 are, and I truly hope for more in the future.
If there were to be a KISS 2.0, look no further than Klassik 78.
Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
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1. Show Me Your Love
2. Fever Dreams
3. Smoke & Mirrors
4. Queen of Hearts
5. Whatcha Gonna Do
6. Living Fantasy (Tonite)
7. Walk That Walk
8. Rock N’ Roll Over