Sjak : In 2014 HDK (Hate Death Kill), the project of Sander Gommans and Amanda Sommerville, released their second album ‘Serenades Of The Netherworld’ and shortly thereafter the idea was launched to also play the songs of that album in a live situation. For this the great female vocalist Marina La Torraca (Avantasia, Exit Eden) was approached and not much later also guitar players Goof Veelen and Ted Wouters as well as drummer Eelco van der Meer’ joined this outfit. Things worked out so well between the different musicians that they also started to write new tunes together and those are now brought to market under the moniker Phantom Elite by means of this debut album ‘Wasteland’.
On the twelve songs that this album has to offer (among which a great performance of the HDK-song ‘Serenades Of The Netherworld’) they play a modern form of metal, in which very many symphonic and progressive elements are interwoven. That accounts for much variety in the song material, causing you to spend quite a number of listens before you truly start appreciating the tracks on offer. However, when you’re willing to do that, the true power and beauty of the material comes to the surface and then you just have to conclude that Phantom Elite has released a great debut album, which certainly will be to the liking of anyone that digs varied and well-performed female fronted progressive metal.
Despite of the fact that the instrumentalists are doing a great job it’s the Brazilian female singer Marina La Torraca that makes the biggest impact with her beautiful and versatile voice. Especially in the more subdued pieces her great voice really stands out, but also in the heavy passages she’s well taking care of business, which makes the varied song material a guarantee for a very pleasant listening experience. Especially the bombastic ‘Revelation’, the lovely title track ‘Wasteland’, the ballad ‘Astray’, the fantastic ‘Siren’s Call’ and the already mentioned HDK-cover ‘Serenades Of The Netherworld’ sound impressive, but as a matter of fact there’s no weak song to be found on ‘Wasteland’.
This Phantom Elite debut proves to be a record that grows on you, in which you discover new elements with every spin, causing the songs to come to life more and more. The song material sounds very fresh, the band is delivering a solid performance and female singer Marina La Torraca is very impressive with her powerful vocals. This, combined with the excellent sound of the album, ensures that Phantom Elite has delivered a very strong first sign of life with this ‘Wasteland’ album and as such has set a big first step to becoming an established act within the progressive metal genre.