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Phantom Elite: Titanium
Phantom Elite - Titanium Album Art

Phantom Elite: Titanium

Melodic Symphonic Power Metal

Phantom Elite was created in 2016 by Exit Eden vocalist Marina La Torraca (also Avantasia) as a personal musical project. Following two singles, La Torraca dropped Phantom Elite's debut album, the independently released Wasteland in 2018. Now La Torraca returns with Phantom Elite's sophomore follow-up album, Titanium, with a brand new band featuring musicians from the Netherlands metal scene. Songwriting and production assistance came from former After Forever guitarist and producer Sander Gommans.

Phantom Elite - Click For Larger Image

Phantom Elite

While I've heard Exit Eden and Avantasia (hasn't everybody), I've never listened to Phantom Elite. Nor, in light of this new album, did I consult the label one-sheet for musical information. I usually do not because I don't want to bias my opinion (which can be biased enough). With a few spins several first and second impressions and observations arrive.

The Phantom Elite sound is generally melodic and symphonic power metal with a dense and heavy sonic texture. (Something quite common in the metal musical universe these days.) The riffs are thick and the synths present, often leading many songs, but mostly adding to the density. You'll hear that combination of intense riffs and energetic rhythm section with Worst Part Of Me, The Race, and Deliverance, where the synths quickly fall into line. Alternatively, synths lead some songs, and continue with some strength, as with Eyes Wide Open, Silver Lining, and the fast and heavy power metal opener, Conjure Rains. That song, along with Deliverance, have moments where the arrangements turn rabid, nearly cacophonous, thanks to the storm of the furious riff and rhythm section breakdowns.

Conversely, for something perhaps different, Diamonds And Dark attempts to temper the blistering fury of the riffs and rhythm section with piano and piano segue, notably with with voice around the two and a half minute mark. But heaviness returns as does a late guitar solo. The album features some guest appearances by vocalist Amanda Somerville within Silver Lining and Eyes Wide Open. Within Worst Part Of Me, some fellow named Stef Rikken (No Loose Ends? Another Now?) adds some annoying death vocals. But I'm not sure what his role is within the song (guessing the "worst" part) as the lyrics are hard to understand. Which also leads to another observation: in many songs La Torraca can seem overwhelmed, even pummelled down, by the song intensity. On a positive note, I was quite impressed by the strength of Max van Esch's guitar work, especially his solos. In the end, if you like female-fronted, heavy and intense, fast and furious, symphonic power metal, you will enjoy Marina La Torraca, her Phantom Elite, and their latest album, Titanium. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

If you like female-fronted, heavy and intense, fast and furious, symphonic power metal, you will enjoy Marina La Torraca, her Phantom Elite, and their latest album, Titanium.

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