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Phantasmagoria is a dark rock band from Zagreb, Croatia, formed by Tomi Phantasma (also in a punk band Eksodus) in 1988, guided by the idea of creating something different in the post-punk sunset of Zagreb at the end of the eighties. Inspiration for the name emerges from the same-titled The Damned album, but it also reminds about apparent fiction of universal truth. Phantasmagoria uses the pentagram as its symbol- a symbol of the perfect man and a balance between material and spiritual. Phantasmagoria is a gothic rock/post-punk and mainly controversial band, often compared with The Sisters Of Mercy, Killing Joke, The Fields Of The Nephilim,... The first single, "Alex" (1988), went straight to the No. 1 indie-charts position, good critics followed by the press, and "Alex" became one of the favourite songs, mainly because of reminding of the early The Sisters Of Mercy. The following singles, "Poziv U Raj" and "Ja Gledam Svojim Očima" repeated that success a year later. In 1990 Phantasmagoria earned the title of a best new alternative band of former Yugoslavia by the music press.

The first Phantasmagoria video-clip for the song "Better World" (1991) also came straight to No. 1 on the national television chart, and the video for the song "Isolated" (1992) was one of the best ten video-clips in Croatia for the year 1993. The same year Phantasmagoria recorded the song "Power And Glory" for the compilation album Made in Croatia – The best of indie rock. The third video followed in 1996 for the cover of Joy Division classic "She’s Lost Control", which was a big success too. In 2000 Phantasmagoria recorded another cover, a big hit of Macedonian cult ethnic-dark band Mizar "Devojka od Bronza" (Phantasmagoria translated lyric in the Croatian language) and "Djevojka Od Bronce" was the biggest success till song "Better World".  Phantasmagoria is well-known also for many cover songs, besides already mentioned: "White Wedding" - Billy Idol, "Never Let Me Down" - Depeche Mode, "Gimme Gimme Gimme" - Abba, "Gimme Shelter" - Rolling Stones (The Sisters Of Mercy version), "She's In Parties" - Bauhaus, "Pet Sematary" - Ramones, "Model" - Kraftwerk, "Tower Of Strenght" - The Mission, "Lucretia My Reflection" - The Sisters Of Mercy, plus some covers of The Cure, The Stooges, David Bowie, T-Rex,...

Phantasmagoria has been around for over 30 years, but not a single album was released, planned several times, though. Yet it's been around very noticeably and has soon earned a cult status in the Croatian underground scene. Although the war in Croatia seriously damaged their career, Phantasmagoria never gave up playing live, in war-zones, and at many anti-war festivals. It has performed on the Dark Nation Day Festival (Austria), Metal Camp (Slovenia), Viva La Pola! Festival (Croatia), Exit Festival (Serbia), InMusic Festival (Croatia), and twice on the famous festival Wave Gotik Treffen (Germany). On these festivals, as well as on several concerts and some tours, Phantasmagoria shared the stages with great acts: The Young Gods, Majke, Mizar, Let 3, New Model Army, Iggy Pop, Borghesia, Christian Death, Kismet, Clan Of Xymox, Theatres Des Vampires, Diva Destruction, Mortiis, In Extremo, Charon, Deathstars, Type O Negative, The 69 Eyes, The Mission, Paradise Lost, The Cure, Moonspell, She Past Away,...

Besides these pleasant times in its respectable long career, Phantasmagoria also had to deal with bad publicity caused by the local Catholic Church, which got even more power after Yugoslavia fell apart and Croatia became a democratic republic. But all these constant assaults in local Church newspapers and ripping off the band posters from walls because of the pentagram usage as a symbol of the band and referring to the philosophy of Aleister Crowley seems to have only fortified the band cult status.
Follow the [Dark] UNKNOWN this Thursday, 18 March on Terra Relicta Radio, and as says Tomi Phantasma: "Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will!"

Phantasmagoria line-up:
Tomi Phantasma - vocals
Miro - lead guitar
Josip - guitar
Alan - bass
Siniša Banović - drums
Didi Blackstar - back vocals
Plus ex-members, now occasional members and/or replacements: guitarist Robert Gelo and bassist Joja.

Phantasmagoria links: Facebook, YouTube.

Phantasmagoria music will be presented on the radio show [Dark] UNKNOWN this Thursday, 18 March at 22.00 (CET) on Terra Relicta Radio.

Written by Jerneja