Blue Blood

Phantom Elite

PHANTOM ELITE is an international female-fronted band formed in 2016. Blue Blood is their third […]
By Kevin Lewis
April 20, 2023
Phantom Elite - Blue Blood album cover

PHANTOM ELITE is an international female-fronted band formed in 2016. Blue Blood is their third full-length album, all of which have been released through Frontiers Music SRL. Blending Power, Progressive, Symphonic, and Metalcore, they fuse different genres together into a hybrid style with massive hooks, bombastic rhythms, and incredible technicality. Blue Blood released worldwide on March 17, 2023. Heavy keys, dramatic guitars, and combined bass/cymbal crashes open the record, leading to a massive riff and bombastic rhythm. This drops to a near acapella verse, then rises again to wash over the listener. "Skin Of My Teeth" is exactly what I expected from PHANTOM ELITE. Having reviewed Titanium two years ago, I know this band is capable of crafting songs with power, precision, and grace. I will say, though, I think Marina La Torraca's voice has improved. Her harsh tones are darker and more aggressive than before.

The next few tracks range through different versions of Power Metal and Metalcore, mixing in a bit of Progressive and Symphonic as well. The layered vocals, the intricate synth/keyboards woven into the composition, everything builds a stunning platform for the incredible voice that stands on the shoulders of Max Van Esch and Joeri Warmerdam. Whether the music is running full throttle like the opening of "This Sick World" or muted and melancholic like the first half of "Birdcage," it's all built to wrap around, over, and through the voice. Whether Marina is belting or crooning, the music always fits the lyrics and the tones delivering those eloquent words. Each piece of the song needs the other pieces. This is a puzzle, individual parts that create a bigger picture, a thing of beauty.

"Apex" is where the band decides to just throw down the gauntlet and challenge the Metal music community as a whole. The keyboards are layered in and around the guitars to construct a wall of sound, the voice soars, but also uses spoken word, and the drums go from heavy Power Metal phrasing to almost techno style. The song has s many twists and turns, rises and drops, it is easily comparable to a roller coaster. Hold on, this is going to be fast and hella fun. Sometimes, PHANTOM ELITE surprises you. "Laid With Vines" revs up a few times, making you think they are about to really go off and bring the fury, but it stops short of a full launch. It does slowly grow, but it also recedes at points, bringing in Arabesque tones before truly ramping up and driving towards the end of the song. The guitar lead and solo work is so spectacular on this track, especially with how they layer the keys under it. Again, stunning songwriting skills are shown.

The title track, "Blue Blood," is another song that ebbs and flows, rises and falls, taking on the rhythmic pattern of waves washing ashore. The hammering bass/guitar/drum phrase under the second verse is so beautifully placed among the vocals. The whole album flows from one song to the next, always feeling connected. There are no songs that feel out of place, there are no "throwaway" tracks meant to be filler. The whole album is just one continuous banger. PHANTOM ELITE is one of those bands that appeared on the scene and immediately knew exactly what they wanted to sound like. There doesn't seem to be growth, it's more like evolution. They are only getting bigger and better, transforming into something magnificent in front of our very eyes.

According to Facebook, "Apex is an early favorite on this record, and I do agree that it is a great song, but "Laid With Vines" is my pick. There is just something about this song that truly hooks me. The way it builds and grows is so well done that I just want to hear that shift over and over. No matter what I say, pick your own favorite, then let them know what it is. Maybe they'll add it to the live set and bring it to a stage near you. I can certainly hope.

10 / 10









"Blue Blood" Track-listing:

1. Skin Of My Teeth
2. Inner Beast
3. This Sick World
4. Birdcage
5. Apex
6. Fragments
7. Laid With Vines
8. Daydark
9. Blue Blood
10. Black Sunrise

Phantom Elite Lineup:

Marina La Torraca - Vocals
Joeri Warmerdam - Drums
Max Van Esch - Guitar/Bass/Keyboards/Electronics

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