Let it be known that I’m not typically a fan of Symphonic Metal for no other reason than it simply doesn’t appeal to me. That said, the sophomore opus from Phantom Elite is likely to cause some revisiting of the genre on my part because if what’s out there already sounds anything like what Phantom Elite is doing then I really am missing out.
But I digress.
“Conjure Rains” is Metal incarnate with Max van Esch’s guitars and Joeri Warmerdam’s drumming hurriedly hurtling at listeners like a fiery comet moments before impact. The impact in this case is Marina La Torraca’s vocals which are just as incendiary with melody as Warmerdam and van Esch are with their aural attacks.
“The Race” starts off with gargantuan guitar tones reminiscent of Bring Me The Horizon’s earlier more straight up Metal moments before La Torraca’s striking voice pierces the sonic barrier with a sweeping delivery that’s a sweet juxtaposition from van Esch’s frenetic picking. Koen Stam’s keys lead the charge into “Diamonds And Dark” which devolves into a massive wall of percussion and guitars creating a brutal wall akin to a Dimmu Borgir epic throttling (Think “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”) before “Worst Part Of Me” slows the tempo a bit, welcoming Stef Rikken (Another Now) and his vicious delivery to counterpoint La Torraca’s angelic verses.
The title track alone which sits smack dab in the middle of this Metal maelstrom is argument alone as to why heavy music fans should pay attention to the genre. It’s Symphonic Metal done right driven by a blistering swirling blast of guitars and drums before the Groove overcomes all and La Torraca takes a quieter but no less sinister approach to the mood created instrumentally.
“Bravado” is a broad foray into Prog interspersed with those more symphonic elements kind of like if Amorphis mixed it up with Lacuna Coil, “Silver Lining” glimmers with the atmosphere built by Stam, van Esch, and Warmerdam while on the flip side, “Deliverance” just destroys thanks to those three individuals with La Torraca reaching new vocal highs. Finishing off strong with the divine “Eyes Wide Open”, Phantom Elite close their latest chapter superbly shredding and soaring.
Titanium arrives through Frontiers Music SRL on January 22nd. Pre-orders are up now and can be checked out in a variety of formats conveniently collected and located here. For more on Phantom Elite, follow them across their socials by clicking here or here.