January 17, 2021

Titanium is the second release by Phantom Elite – a Dutch symphonic metal band fronted by the remarkable Brazilian vocalist Marina La Torraca. – and follows on from the debut release back in 2017. The band began life in 2016 as an offshoot from HDK, the dark metal band formed by After Forever guitarist Sander Gommans, when he was looking to set up a live band to play HKD songs. It seems he was impressed by the dynamic of the team he had put together and thus it morphed into Phantom Elite with the well received Wasteland winning over critic and fans alike.

We now come to the all important second album and it seems that there have been changes in the camp with only Marina La Torraca and guru and songwriter Sander Gommans remaining but, in truth, these are the two powerhouses of the project. The incoming musicians are Max van Esch who plays all guitars and bass with Koen Stam on keyboards and Joeri Warmerdam on drums and they have combined to give the band a darker edge and a more intense sound. The vocal prowess of Marina La Torraca is what hits you first about the band with her truly powerful and devastatingly strong delivery and you may already have heard her with Exit Eden and she has also provided live vocals for Avantasia so you will appreciate that this girl can not only sing but also belt it out with the best of them.

Max van Esch is sensational with his thunderous riffs and soaring, searing lead breaks whilst Koen Stam is really adept at matching him with keyboards runs, providing lush backing or exquisite piano pieces and Joeri Warmerdam makes enough noise for two drummers whilst driving the music forward with the speed of a Trident missile. There are several neat touches too with Amanda Somerville providing guest vocals on Silver Lining plus backing vocals on Eyes Wide Open and she, of course, is the husband of Sander Gommans. The tracks Worst Of Me also sees guest vocals from Stef Rikken and the singing throughout the album is clean and exceptional but there are a couple of instances of guttural vocals and these add interesting contrast rather than any attempt to take control of the proceedings.

Titanium is a rather exceptional heavy metal album with lots of symphonic elements and it often verges into progressive metal territory too so there is more than enough hard rock here to satisfy fans of all metal genres. The album features some incredibly well written songs with lots of hooks and melodic elements but, at heart, remains a slightly dark, hard rock album with superb vocals and exceptional guitar. If you are into Metalite, The Dark Element, Cellar Darling and Within Temptation then you need to add Phantom Elite to your list of favourites.

Titanium track list

  1. Conjure Rains (4:33)
  2. The Race (3:51)
  3. Diamonds And Dark (4:49)
  4. Worst Part Of Me (4:43)
  5. Glass Crown (4:46)
  6. Titanium (7:26)
  7. Bravado (4:04)
  8. Silver Lining (4:08)
  9. Haven (1:22)
  10. Deliverance (4:58)
  11. Eyes Wide Open (3:40)