Phantasma: The Deviant Hearts

Delain vocalist pursues her novel idea

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Literature has long inspired metal acts, from Iron Maiden to Rammstein, but Delain vocalist Charlotte Wessels has taken things to the next level with her new symphonic rock project: she’s based Phantasma’s debut album on her very own novella.

But if you’re expecting The Deviant Hearts to sound anything like Delain, you’re in for a shock. They’ve even plucked guest musicians from prog acts Neal Morse Band and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Theatrical in tone with dual male/female vocals and a soft rock edge, the 12 conceptual tracks here have an almost wintery feel mixed with elements of Within Temptation, Tarot and even Queen – there’s no escaping those Flash Gordon-esque ‘Ahh-aahs!’ on Crimson Course!

Elsewhere, you could imagine Nightwish’s Marco Hietala’s power vocals on songs like Miserable Me, and then there are the ballads. The powerful Runaway Gray and_ The Lotus And The Willow _really showcase Charlotte’s beautiful vocals.

Phantasma’s debut feels like a movie soundtrack, although it’s not quite as dramatic as Nightwish or Epica. Just give them time.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.