Metal Review: http://www.metalreview.com/viewreview.aspx?ID=1838 If theres a more masculine, more testosterone-fueled name than Warblade, then I want to hear it. Simply because: I can imagine hardass metalheads listening to this band just so when asked what theyre listening to they can reply with the hoisting of horns and offer, Warblade! Im sure its happened before but, anyway, The Phantom Blaze is the groups second, full-length offering on the label known as Oak Knoll Productions, which only has a bucketful of bands within its grasp. However, I always prefer quality to quantity, and the aforementioned record does boast a decent amount of the former. Upon my introduction to this sextet, I found it difficult to believe that the guys hail from New York. This brand of melodic death metal paved with black metal I dont hesitate to add sounds overly European, or maybe its just that Europeans are the supreme handlers of said subgenre. Either way, Warblade are obviously talented in the musicianship department as evidenced by their playing on myriad, bombastic numbers. Ive seen comparisons to Dark Tranquillity, Vesperian Sorrow, among others, and I must generically concur with my comrades assertions. The production isnt the greatest, though the vocalizations are black-infested, raspy growls, which match the instrumentation quite well. Thing is, The Phantom Blaze is a long one, and the total time reaches upwards of seventy minutes to prove it. If anything, despite being able to cite the music as good, the lengthy, eleven tracks tip the scale in an unfavorable direction. Itd be one thing if the songs were captivating enough to warrant such a massive record, but they arent and so, I found myself becoming impatient as I neared the end of the sextets opus. Fans of melody will find much to extol with Warblade, though. As I said, the musical performances are way above satisfactory, the compositions are structured admirably, and the overall presentation is tightly woven. These guys dont comprise the most astounding group on the planet, but The Phantom Blaze will do you more good than harm. Believe you me.