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(Century Media Records)

I can actually remember this band's early work, one of the members sent me one of their first CDs some years ago regarding the possibilities of a gig in my hometown Trondheim. Back then they were a lot more attached to the underground and their style was still sounding much more underground as well. The last year or two I've seen their name mentioned in more and more zines and on the net, something is certainly stirring up in the Dark Fortress camp these days. Getting signed to Century Media is one of them and that is quite a good accomplishment I think, even though the band has been around for 10 years or so. Their music has been too underground and primitive to achieve a deal with a major label like Century Media. "Séance" on the other hand, is indeed a big step away from the underground and revealing that the band can create music for a larger audience (on my own behalf, I'd just like to add that the underground is a good enough place for me...). Their music now compared to their debut "Tales From Eternal Dusk" in 2001 can be said as much more mature, stronger songs, the riffs are more original in way, more symphonic yet darker in a way. They now display a great diversity in their songs, adding more "life" to the music. I can actually say that they present the fact that it is possible to make a modern Black Metal album without the ongoing monotonous and repetitive sound, speed and aggression so many others do, or the overproduced bombastic sympho-nonsense that rule the commercial Black Metal scene today. Dark Fortress have found a way of getting neatly placed somewhere straight in the middle of it and delivering a good and interesting product that can be approved by Black Metal - lovers on each side I think. Yes, they do have traces of more famous bands of course, without being a copy band. In my ears I can find traces of Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Gehenna, Thorns, Satyricon and Dissection. There are a lot of things happening in their music, so it is quite impossible to name that one song sound like this or that band, but you get some hints here and there. The vocals are also quite grim and dark, reminding me of Shagrath (Dimmu) and Dolgar (Gehenna) mixed together into an interesting result, with the exception of the parts where he is trying to imitate Atilla (Mayhem back on "De Mysteriis..."). That I could do without because it seems to me that he is really doing his best to sound just like him (although he does it quite well...). Also there is a track on the album that in my opinion is totally useless and out of place, just some screaming and howling as an attempt to bring forth feelings of hate, fear, agony or pain... I don't know, but it's all just nonsense to me. Apart from these small negative outbursts I must say I was caught by surprise by this album. Good, dark, cold and grim atmospheres in a diverse and interesting Black Metal package.,

Jan Roger Pettersen

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