Phantom Elite – Titanium

Phantom Elite
Titanium
Frontiers Records
January 22, 2021
48:19

A lot has happened since my review of “Wasteland” by Phantom Elite. Singer Marina La Torraca is the last remaining band member. New comrades-in-arms had to be found. I had the opportunity to see the band live at FemME 2018. A record deal with the Italian label Frontiers was signed. Yes, and a new album was produced, under the difficult conditions of the Corona Pandemic. One day before the release, the singer proudly presented her latest work to her patrons (https://www.patreon.com) during a Zoom meeting. One and a half hours of Metal and chit-chat.

Although the band obviously doesn’t have a regular keyboard player, this instrument plays an important role in the sound. This can already be heard in “Conjure Rains”, which starts with synthesised sounds. But the Dutch-Brazilian collaboration can also really let it rumble, as can be heard shortly afterwards. Especially the drums, played by Joeri Warmerdam, boom and drive the guitarist. The vocals of front lady Marina La Torraca already thrilled me on the debut. And at first the band stays true to the style of the previous album, progressive melody and rhythm changes characterise the opener. The speed banger “The Race” is a bit more catchy. Especially the chorus is easy to sing along to. The guitar hooks also sound pleasing. And that Max van Esch is an excellent guitarist, he proves again and again with the solos. In “Diamonds And Dark”, the epic choruses are surprising. In addition, there are quiet e-piano passages that accompany Marina’s deeper, almost fragile-sounding vocals. Worst Part Of Me” is also dominated by the synths. Otherwise, the song is mostly a bit quieter. Except maybe in the parts where Stef Rikken contributes his growls. In “Glass Crown”, the musicians borrow from the pop metal of bands like Amaranthe or the current Battle Beast. This song, which is actually untypical for Phantom Elite, was released as the second single at the label’s wishes. The contrast to the title song “Titanium” could hardly be greater. Phantom Elite really let off steam on this progressive monster. The hectic beginning is followed by majestic riff storms. The vocals, on the other hand, are mostly mid-tempo. And this constant change continues over the entire playing time of almost seven and a half minutes. The synth-heavy “Bravado” is a mixture of balladlike and anthemic sections. On “Silver Lining” Marina got support from band colleague Amanda Somerville (Exit Eden, Avantasia). By the way, Amanda was also responsible for all the vocal recordings on the album. The song starts very intricate but later becomes highly melodic. The instrumental interlude “Haven” provides a resting point on the album but cannot replace the missing ballad. But this is only the calm before the storm. “Deliverance” bangs out of the speakers with a lot of pressure and high speed. This is followed by the bouncer “Eyes Wide Open”. As often before, hectic synths and great melodies alternate.

The band has become smaller, but musically Phantom Elite have grown. Marina La Torraca seems to have matured vocally. She may not be a rock belter, but her powerful voice sets her apart from other female singers. And so she and her two comrades-in-arms on the instruments drive each other to top performances again and again. What “Titanium” lacks a little is hit density. But that is certainly intentional. Only “Glass Crown” stands out in this respect. Two great producers, Hannes Braun (Kissin Dynamite) in the “Südland Music” studio and Jacob Hansen in the Hansen Studios, were responsible for the rich sound.

Phantom Elite – “Glass Crown” – Official Video: https://youtu.be/v4MPYE1pnvs

Lineup:

Marina La Torraca – Vocals,
Max van Esch – Guitars, Bass
Joeri Warmerdam – Drums
Koen Stam – Keyboards

Guests:

Amanda Somerville – Vocals, Choir, Backing Vocals;
Stef Rikken – Vocals

Track list:

  • Conjure Rains
  • The Race
  • Diamonds And Dark
  • Worst Part Of Me
  • Glass Crown
  • Titanium
  • Bravado
  • Silver Lining
  • Haven
  • Deliverance
  • Eyes Wide Open 
  • 8/10
    Album - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Cover Art - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Songwriting - 9/10
8.3/10
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