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DARK FORTRESS
DARK FORTRESS
Profane Genocidal Creations
(Century Media Records)
79:10min

Century Media has picked up the rights to DARK FORTRESS' first two albums “Profane Genocidal Creations” and “Tales From Eternal Dusk”. The two albums were recently reissued with bonus tracks, changes to the album covers and remastered (a smart move on Century Media's behalf if you ask me as both albums are solid melodic Black Metal releases that now get a face lift). Those of you new to the band will quickly pick up on the CRADLE OF FILTH / DIMMU BORGIR similarities (remember this was initially issued in 2003 when both CRADLE OF FILTH / DIMMU BORGIR were peaking in popularity world wide and the whole melodic / symphonic sound was vastly popular... remember Nick Cage's son's own Los Angeles' based Black Metal band? Yeah no one does, but it did happen). The band keeps to their roots on this album and keep things interesting musically. Their keyboards are not overly exaggerated and enhance the rest of the music. The bonus tracks on this album are covers from Black Metal gods EMPEROR ('I Am The Black Wizards') and UNANIMATED ('Eye Of The Greyhound'). That alone should grasp your attention to check out the reissue and to be honest DARK FORTRESS did do both songs justice. 'Passage To Extinction' is a stand out track due to the acoustic guitars, female vocals, and just the overall flow of the music. 'A Fortress Dark' is another solid track on this album once again bringing in the acoustic guitars, epic guitar solos and atmospheric stabilizing keyboards really showcase what the band can do. As I previously mentioned the artwork on the cover has been updated, but only slightly as the color is more of a darker green instead of the yellowish-green cover on the initial album. The reissuing of this album is well overdue and the remastering really helped bring out what this release has to offer the fan base. It has been almost 4 years since we heard anything new from the band and these reissues should keep fans' thirst for new material on hold for a moment. The only thing that I have mixed feelings about is that the reissues are on digipak and really had hoped they would have also been issued out on jewel case. So far these reissues are only through Century Media in Europe so those of you outside of Europe might have to cough up some extra dough to get them. Century Media USA needs to catch up with their European counterpart not just on this release but the good Metal reissues. For more information: www.facebook.com/officialdarkfortress, www.centurymedia.com

Jaime Pérez

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DARK FORTRESS
DARK FORTRESS
Profane Genocidal Creations
(Red Stream Records)
68:27min

I gotta admit that I still have some problems with the fact that the music delivered by Germany's DARK FORTRESS is way more melodic than their visual side, which is Black Metal to the bone, yet done with a lot of taste (corpsepaint, bullet belts, spikes, firebreathing, weapons, black and white pictures etc.). The grim vocals by frontman Azathoth are really convincing and totally fit into the aforementioned image, but for my taste unfortunetaly got buried a bit too much in the mix, while the music itself offers quite a lot of surprises. After a short, kinda symphonic intro (courtesy of LIMBONIC ART's Morfeus), the album kicks off with 'Defiance Of Death' in a rather speedy way. This 8 1/2 minutes long track is the perfect opener and along with 'Blood Of The Templars' and 'Battles Rage In The Infernal Depth' probably the rawest and most straight forward tune on the entire record. 'Passage To Extinction' is next. This song already comes across alot more atmospheric and besides a more dominant use of keyboards it also features a clear female vocal part, which I personally easily could have lived without as it's nothing but superfluous. An acoustic guitar piece opens another 9 minutes long composition ('In Morte Aeternitas'), which basically combines everything the band musically stands for: it's raw, has got a very symphonic feel to it and comes up with a very strong, catchy melodyline. Unlike many other extreme (Black) Metal acts, DARK FORTRESS don't limit themselves in terms of the speed, so don't expect another "Panzer Division Marduk" type of release here. These guys quite obviously try to compose their songs in a very varied manner, which not only results in a pretty long individual playing time of each song, it also keeps the material interesting from start to finish. DARK FORTRESS is neither your typical early BATHORY / DARKTHRONE inspired (and therefore musically quite limited) Black Metal act, nor a mainstream Black / Gothic DIMMU BORGIR type of phenomenom. By listening to their material, it becomes pretty obvious that this six-piece draws alot of their influences from traditional Heavy Metal, especially when it comes to their melodic, twin-guitar leads and parts of the riffing. So, in a way, this is melodic, yet aggressive, blackened symphonic Metal (or something like that...). The frequently used comparisons with DISSECTION definitely won't work here any longer as DARK FORTRESS have matured into an even more unique direction with "Profane Genocidal Creations" already. So, what else is important to know? Well, 'Battles Rage In The Infernal Depth' features a guest appearance by AETERNUS mainman Ares, the album was recorded at Norway's famous Grieghallen Studios (with Pytten on the desk, but still has a somewhat warmer, more powerful sound), the entire layout was done by ABIGOR's Peter Kubik and the coverart once again supplied by Kris Verwimp... So, all in all, "Profane Genocidal Creations" has become another high quality release from these hopefuls! More info at: www.thetruedarkfortress.com, www.redstream.org

Frank Stöver

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