ReviewsPhantom Elite - Blue Blood (Frontiers)

Phantom Elite – Blue Blood (Frontiers)

With the band’s second release, Titanium, laying the groundwork for the band’s sound, the trio of Phantom Elite return for a third offering with producer Sander Gommans still in tow.  Blue Blood isn’t as much of a sonic evolution as Titanium was to their Wasteland debut, but it does see the band continue to shed the ‘symphonic metal’ roots even more, trading in the synths but keeping the bombastic and epic elements in the mix while they continue to head in a heavier musical direction.  No easy way to toss them into a box other than the broad modern metal, which still serves to distinguish them from their peers.

The heavy direction is immediately noticeable and bound to catch your ears upon first listen.  The immensity of a song like “Apex” when it winds up with thundering riffs and Marina La Torraca’s quickly recognizable vocals is one thing, but the song also has some flavors to itself outside of, “whoa, that got heavy.”  An almost theatrical aspect permeates the chorus of the track, elevating it into even more individualized territory that fits perfectly into their arsenal.  “Laid with Vines” carries more grooves and a slower tempo overall, but still retains that heavy feeling, contrasted by some really strong, ethereal vocals from La Torraca.  “Daydark” flirts with some melodic death energy, with more uplifting guitar melodies that all but soar upwards in a nice merging with some keys.  A major strongpoint for Blue Blood is how the tracks capture that same feeling, yet each have some distinguishing characteristics that endear them in different ways.  Whether it’s the bombast of the title track, the more vicious and electronic “Inner Beast,” or beautiful build-up of “Birdcage,” there’s something to really dig into at every step along the way.

Phantom Elite still carry quite a pedigree with their sound, three albums in.  They’ve continued to challenge and advance themselves into a position where they can easily be viewed as a band unafraid of mixing things up.  Blue Blood represents their latest foothold, an impressive piece that juggles heavy, progressive riffs with theatrical and melodic slants that keep you intrigued around each song.  Where they go next will certainly embody those ideals, but expect them to continue reveling in not ‘playing by the rules.’

Phantom Elite official website