Released: 2005, Oak Knoll Productions
In my opinion there are two waves of Melodic Death Metal. The first one, or Old School Melodeath as I like to call it, is the one that bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, A Canorous Quintet and Ceremonial Oath showcased in each of the bands first two releases. The music was extremely melodic and technical, but at the same time unpolished and with a very raw extreme sound. The second wave of Melodeath, which I see as the truly influential one, came with releases like THE JESTER RACE, THE MINDS I, SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL and THE FIFTH SEASON from Sacrilege. Here the music was more polished, extremely melodic, and showcased a much cleaner and punchy sound. Even the musicians started to play their instruments way better, which led to the emotion being somehow replaced by a more mechanical sound.
Unfortunately for me, even if I still love the turn Melodeath took after THE JESTER RACE and the MINDS I, I have always been a true sucker of the Old School Melodeath movement and thankfully here is where Warblade comes in.
Recently, I got in my mail the sophomore release from these Americans, and all I can say is that I once again experienced the Old School Melodic Death Metal I had been missing for so long. It is awesome to listen to a band that can surely play their instruments and at the same time give a lot of importance to the raw edge and uncompromised approach of the early days. Aspect that I feel is missing in today’s scene.
The music on THE PHANTOM BLAZE is a mix between Dark Tranquillity’s THE GALLERY and SKYDANCER, In Flames LUNAR STRAIN and SUBTERRANEAN, Ceremonial Oath’s excellent CARPET and Dissection to some extent. I guess I have summed it pretty much in here.
For some of you, this may be a hard album to find, but I truly recommend it for serious Extreme Melodic Metal fans. All songs are killers and raw. Fast yet full of emotion. The US is having some amazing Melodeath in the recent years, so I recommend you getting THE PHANTOM BLAZE to prove my point. And while you are at it also get any release from Arsis, you will be blown away. Stay Heavy!!!