Album Review: The Gems – Phoenix (Napalm Records)

New Swedish rock trio The Gems – featuring ex-Thundermother members vocalist Guernica Mancini, drummer Emlee Johansson and guitarist/bassist Mona “Demona” Lindgren – rise from the ashes with their debut album, Phoenix, set to be released on January 26, 2024, via Napalm Records.

Photo Credit: Mikael Haltén

Having done a great job of selling this album with the singles released, The Gems finally drop the full thing, and show just why they are going to be a force in the rock scene going forward.

Featuring a mammoth 16-tracks, Phoenix is a statement of an album that shows a united group at the heights of their talents. Focusing on delivering anthemic rock tunes that are filled with heart and soul, but delivering thumping drumbeats, massive riffs, and epic vocals all the way through.

It’s that what greets on the groovy Queens, following a powerful intro called Aurora – Interlude. The lyrics of this track are right on the noise, but that’s kind of the point. It’s supposed to be a track about female empowerment and that certainly comes through. As does their commitment to the riff. Just listen to Send Me to the Wolves’ Southern-rock tone, Domino’s old-school pacey rhythm, and Silver Tongue’s chorus-driven singalong. This is what The Gems do, nothing more and nothing less.

The quality is high, and Undiscovered Paths doesn’t change that. It finds the band in fine voice, delivering an old-school rock banger with plenty of heart and soul. A track, like most of the album, that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Even though it is just an interlude, Maria’s Song – Interlude is extremely touching, as the use of a violin adds a fresh sound. This setting up the melodic power of Ease Your Pain, the vocals sounding so immense here. Before Running adds some fun punky snark to proceedings.

All this being said, and for all the enjoyability of the release, it does feel too long overall. Running out of steam in several places, as a handful of tracks just aren’t as interesting as others. As Renaissance – Interlude, Like A Phoenix, and P.S.Y.C.H.O come along, you can’t help but think that a bit of quality control could have helped things.

Though, that’s not to suggest any of those tracks are bad, or that anything that follows is either. Rather, it’s to highlight the diminishing results and increasing levels of distraction that start to crop up. Even if what The Gems do in the latter portion of the album continues to be mostly punchy and catchy. The group’s ability to deliver consistently infectious tunes like Kiss It Goodbye, Force of Nature, and Fruits of My Labor is undeniable.

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The Gems – Phoenix Track Listing:

1. Aurora – Interlude
2. Queens
3. Send Me To The Wolves
4. Domino
5. Silver Tongue
6. Undiscovered Paths
7. Maria’s Song – Interlude
8. Ease Your Pain
9. Running
10. Renaissance – Interlude
11. Like A Phoenix
12. P.S.Y.C.H.O
13. Kiss it Goodbye
14. Force Of Nature
15. Fruits Of My Labor
16. Like A Phoenix (Acoustic Version)


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

The Gems - Phoenix (Napalm Records)
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