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25 June, 2012

Phobos Corp. - Felicity EP

Phobos Corp. - Felicity EP |self-released, 2012| 4/4

1. One Eternal (Felicity's Song), 2. Conceived Fate, 3. This Divine Tragedy, 4. Angels in Despair (Instr.)


Whenever you enjoy a movie it's because of the plot, editing, syncing, aesthetics, wardrobe, actors, screenplay, special effects, camera filters and other technical solutions. However, any movie can fall flat without a soundtrack.
Phobos Corp. has released a true concept EP entitled Felicity, with content that perfectly illustrates drama, science fiction or fantasy movies as well as atmospheric video games. A fictional character named Felicity is the focal point of this EP. She was once killed, but now returns as a ghost to tell the story of her tragic love through four symphonic metal songs.

"One Eternal (Felicity's Song)" opens the tracklist with the sound of a piano echoing a light rainfall. This aspect brings a sort of theatrical tension which is usually utilized in dramatic movies. The action begins right after the intro, along with synth tracks that seem to be programmed to sound like violins. Repetitive choral voices make this song sound epic. The contrast between high and low tones result in creating the counterpoint behind the atmosphere of this song, which carries with it the effect of stealing a listeners attention right away. Orchestral arrangements last until they are met with symphonic metal drums, guitars and keyboards. The initial piano parts continue in the background, leaving space for female vocals and guitar riffs which come in next. The voice of Tara Louise reminds me of popular and inspirational female metal genre vocalists such as Tarja Turunen (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) or Simone Simons (Epica).
A trumpet is not an instrument utilized very often in metal music and thus, it may sound surprising when it comes into the mix right after such metal-orientated arrangements. However, it does work well with the initial piano score when combined with the symphonic metal sections of the song.

Large choirs begin the track "Conceived Fate" and are followed by a rhythmic set of guitars, drums and Tara's vocals. In fact, the guitars will make you want to headbang, but after such a symphonically orchestrated intro you may anticipate these elements of the tune to return once again. Indeed, the smartly composed orchestral parts appear in the middle of the track. This contrast hits incredibly hard with its beauty after such a storm of previous metal arrangements. The following conversion is a fully symphonic arrangement that may give you ideas that consist of sonic illustrations and mental images such as discovering treasure in the depths of the sea, entering a secret cavern while a beautiful sorceress awaits or crossing through the gate of a mystic temple. Everything seems to be meaningful, sublime, mysterious and glittering like ice crystals or precious gems. However, this part of the track is kept in a serious, indifferent, not happy, yet non-depressive mood.
Later, previously heard metal arrangements return to lead the listener towards the end of the song.

"This Divine Tragedy" is song number 3 on the tracklist. It begins with an instrumental introduction that would perfectly match an RPG fantasy video game such as Skyrim, Witcher or World of Warcraft. After such a magical beginning, the composition brings angelic female voices and chunky guitars that are accompanied by bass and drums. The track also includes a guitar solo near the end of the song while keyboards and a violin occasionally interlace with the arrangements. We're not talking about songwriting aspects that comprise the fury of a storm here, but compositional structures that are built in a safe way that avoids deviation.

The choirs return on "Angels in Despair", then the atmospheres grow even more expansive thanks to rhythmic guitars and drums in unison that are joined by keyboards next. If there is ever a need to replace the keyboards, a real violin could make this track sound even more epic, but on the other hand, trumpets or a brass section may bring an experimental jazz vibe into the mix (like the trumpet did for "One Eternal (Felicity's Song)"). Moreover, the song is short enough to become an intro or outro on a full album, possibly released by Phobos Corp. sometime in the future. "Angels in Despair" seems as if it could be a fitting ending for the part of a movie where the credits scroll up as well.

Phobos Corp. was founded in Greece in 1995, then relocated to Germany. They belong to a collective of bands creating both music and stories which give their songs additional meaning.
Felicity was written by Spyros Papadakis (keyboards) and recorded with the help of soundtrack composers such as Jon Ong & Zach Lemmon (orchestral arrangements), Shoi Sen (guitar), Mark Jones (guitar, bass), Chris Sutherland (drums) as well as a professional female vocalist named Tara Louise. The EP was mixed & mastered by British producer Dave Chang who worked with artists such as Orange Goblin, Dagoba, Earthtone9 and Stampin' Ground.

Spyros should seek the attention of high budget movie and video game industries as well as big multimedia orchestral performances which would allow his musical and visual concepts to go viral. It would be great if Phobos Corp. could get a full symphonic orchestra to perform the Felicity EP live.

(Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, June 20th, 2012)

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Reviewed by Google+ Music Reviews
on Fabryka Magazine

18 June, 2012

Mike Drazka - Songs from the Asylum

Mike Drazka - Songs from the Asylum |self-released, 2012| 4/4

01. The Awakening , 02. Angels Of War, 03. The Nightmare, 04. Black River, 05. Sucker Punch, 06. Crown Of Thorns, 07. Path of Destruction

Mike Drazka is an American songwriter and self taught multi-instrumentalist who has already placed his music into various forms of visual media such as TV, radio and internet multimedia sources including Oxygen Network, News12 Networks, MSG Networks and The Motion Picture Association of America with the award winning documentary Flight 587. His Songs from the Asylum album brings seven instrumental tracks that could be easily utilized in action video games as well as movies.

The album begins with "The Awakening" which brings orchestrated rock sounds spiced up with electronica. It would be perfect if Mike hired a metal genre female singer to add vocals to it. The compositional aspects of the song are built on verses and choruses with cumulative moments and spots where a listener's brain can relax as well. Arrangements which have been written for guitars, bass, drums and keyboards have resulted in a cool rock track that has a chance for hit potential despite missing vocals.

"Angels of War" is a heavy track due to its looped guitar riffs and sampling. Atmospheric parts in the background based on angel-esque voices and violins are interlaced with the main theme.
On the other hand, "The Nightmare" has an intro that consist of brooding metal bass lines and drums which are joined by noisy guitars and cut with a synthesizer sometimes too. This would be also a perfect song to have male rock vocals added that could intensify the track and add a remarkable aspect. Overall, the dark and heavy moods sound as if they smuggled a nightmare into an asylum.

Creative noise opens the fourth song on the tracklist called "Black River", which I personally find one of the best compositions on this album along with "Crown of Thorns" and "Sucker Punch".
"Black River" sounds powerful due to chunky guitars joined by keyboards while the drum beat builds the structure of the song. An unforgettable and ear-friendly guitar motif that appears in segments of the song may also steal your heart. Moreover, the guitar tracks act as a surrogate to vocal parts which makes a listener take no notice that the song is missing a vocalist. The composition flows quite stable and the arrangements match one another well. "Black River" is as full of dynamics as it is memorable, this is thanks to Mike's great songwriting and sound design skills.

Mike Drazka wrote and played each instrument on every song except for two. You can hear very heavy metal, yet distorted riffs played by American guitarist Frank Guertin as well as the drum beats by Russ Miller in "Sucker Punch" and "Crown of Thorns".
The first of the two, “Sucker Punch”, is a track where heavy metal collides with electronica. Hardcore riffs lead the song over backgrounds which feature drums, bass and rhythm guitars, but electronic effects and sampling appear in some spots too. This track would be a great fit to an action movie trailer since it can underline specific scenes and moods very well.
"Crown of Thorns" turns out quite short (less than 3 minutes), though it is fully dominated by deep tribal drum beats. The initial mixture of Mike's concept of synths and silence gave me a flashback of Harold Faltermeyer's compositions. The intro may be a bit too long, but the track continuously evolves. However, if the purpose of the song was to be background music for a presentation or a video game with a few images slid into the beginning, the length of the intro would make a perfect sense.

"Path of Destruction" finishes the Songs from the Asylum album. It seems to utilize the same ideas as are found in "Crown of Thorns" (the length of intro) in the beginning, but the overall vibe is more electronic and noisy than in the previous songs. There are some guitar riffs involved, although it seems like they were processed through a digital sequencer.

Well designed music doubles the joy of playing video games as well as watching movies. Images and motion do speak directly, yet they become harsh without matching music. Some game designers and movie directors have awesome works in progress, but they are missing music that can emphasize their work to a maximum dynamic effect. Mike has an excellent set of songs which would match any type of 'action' motion picture or video game due to their climactic guitar driven instrumental themes. It would be great if Mike had a chance to collaborate with such professionals as mentioned above to utilize his music in their productions and allow for visually stunning multimedia. Hopefully some professionals who are in the gaming and film industries may find Mike Drazka thanks to this review and begin a creative and successful collaboration together.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, June 11th, 2012)

http://www.mikedrazkamusic.com | http://www.facebook.com/drazka

Buy this album on http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mikedrazka/from/fabryka
as well as iTunes, Deezer, Myspace Music, eMusic, Nokia, Last.fm, Simfy, Google Music Store and MediaNet.

Reviewed by Google+ Music Reviews

04 June, 2012

Phobos Corp. - This Divine Tragedy


Phobos Corp. - This Divine Tragedy (song review) |self-released, Felicity EP, 2012| 4/5

She was a young sensitive being who devoted herself to a man she literally loved to death. However, her jealous father couldn't stand the way his beautiful daughter was looking at her lover. He hated every minute she was spending with this stranger to a point where a horrific plan was born into his mind. Her father became convinced that he must stop their suffering.
The girl returned soon after this wicked revelation. A shaking shadow had been seen in the corner of the room where her father had been locking her up... and where he killed her. None of this could make her stop seeing her lover. She was shifting along with the warm summer air in the garden after dusk; where she kissed her man the very first time. A murky glance in his eyes had already told her there would be a dark secret to keep. She thought she could deal with it because the power of their love could protect them from any disaster.

The above script is a fictional story. When you look at the cover art of this release you'll see an exhausted young girl who's laying naked on the floor of an abandoned room. A dark image that illustrates the idea behind this concept EP very well. A fictional character named Felicity is the focal point of this album. She was once killed, but now returns as a ghost to tell the story of her tragic love through four symphonic metal songs.

"This Divine Tragedy" is song number 3 on the tracklist. It begins with an instrumental introduction that would perfectly match an RPG fantasy video game such as Skyrim, Witcher or World of Warcraft. Personally, I wouldn't mind if the entire song was a continuation of the intro.
After such a magical beginning, the composition brings angelic female voices and chunky guitars that are accompanied by bass and drums. The track also includes a guitar solo near the end of the song while keyboards and a violin occasionally interlace with the arrangements. We're not talking about songwriting aspects that comprise the fury of a storm here, but compositional structures that are built in a safe way that avoids deviation.

On the other hand, the song is surprisingly short and lasts less than 4 minutes. For such an orientation of orchestral arrangements, "This Divine Tragedy" could have been extended in a manner that would be fitting to tease with a listener's emotions. This could be done by building specific moods that rely on ascending peaks and descending hollows which lead to accumulative climaxes in certain segments. In fact, it would be great if Phobos Corp. could get a full symphonic orchestra to perform this track live.

Spyros Papadakis (keyboards) is the open minded leader behind Phobos Corp. He writes orchestral arrangements and mixes them with metal music. This genre has been the target of his interest since he was 12 years old, while his knowledge of compositional techniques applied to both styles of music allows him to experiment with the cross-over dynamics of the instruments. Technically speaking, he usually begins writing arrangements derived from melodies and chords, including orchestral scores for string instruments.

Spyros is a native of Greece, where he set up Phobos Corp. in 1995, but he continues to branch out to a worldwide audience in terms of musical cooperation as well as acquiring fans for support. Thus, Felicity was recorded with the help of soundtrack composers such as Jon Ong & Zach Lemmon (orchestral arrangements), Shoi Sen (guitar), Mark Jones (guitar, bass), Chris Sutherland (drums) and a professional female vocalist named Tara. The EP was mixed & mastered by British producer Dave Chang who worked with artists such as Orange Goblin, Dagoba, Earthtone9 and Stampin' Ground.

We've heard a lot about the economic disasters happening in Greece recently, so hopefully Spyros can make his ideas come to fruition while cooperating with a worldwide network. This may lead to his dream of scoring movies to come true. The band has not made plans to tour at this time since Spyros intends to release either a few more concept EPs or a full length album to have more songs for the purpose of live performances.
"This Divine Tragedy" has possible hit potential, though the best chance if the track is illustrated with a matching music video or finds it's way into distribution as a song from a movie soundtrack.

(Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 31st, 2012)

http://www.phoboscorp.com
http://soundcloud.com/phoboscorp
http://www.youtube.com/phoboscorp
http://www.reverbnation/phoboscorp
http://www.last.fm/music/Phobos+Corp.
http://www.facebook.com/PhobosCorpOfficial
http://www.twitter.com/phoboscorp

Buy on
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/phoboscorp/from/fabryka
http://www.amazon.com/Felicity/dp/B0081X3IAM
http://phoboscorp.bandcamp.com

This review on
Fabryka Magazine http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=42

Testimonials
I LOVE your review, it's so cool!!! Thank you very much for this. It was awesome to read it!!
Spyros Papadakis | 04.06.2012 |


Reviewed by Google+ Music Reviews