Review Summary: Dark Fortress will surely impress fans of both melodic and heavy styles of black metal with their fifth CD.
I am relatively new to Dark Fortress, and was directed to them by a friend. They are a melodic black metal band from Germany, one of the metal capitals of the world. They solidly combine ambient sounding black metal with straight up black metal, and the result is truly an atmospheric, and resonating experience.
The first topic I'd like to mention is the vocals, as they really are one of the stand out elements on this album. Some of the vocals are typical black metal screeches, but there are also a whole lot of very low pitched singing, or droning. They change very frequently, and even some types of yelling and chanting are seen throughout this album. This is a good thing however, as it keeps it more interesting and hooks you into the heaviness more and tends to make you pay more attention to not just the vocals but, of course, the music backing it. As for the classic black metal growls, they sound fully developed and controlled, not too forced and very crunchy.
The music itself is very, very good as well. It really has something for everyone who is a fan of the genre of black metal. If you're like me and enjoy you're black metal very melodic and creative, you will definitely enjoy some of the melodies and chords here, such as the intro to the track Analepsy. It's very dark and depressive, but also has a very disturbing and unsettling sort of melody that really hooks you into the rest of the song. From there on, it dives into a very tight sort of Dimmu Borgir style riff. The whole sound of the record in general really gives a cold and echoing vibe, and successfully pulls off a familiar and welcomed sound, and yet still has enough uniqueness to stand on it's own.
The album can, however, get a tad on the repetitive side and seems to drag in a few tracks such as The Unflesh. The instrumentation is consistently great throughout, but sometimes, a single riff may be used a little too often, or the song doesn't change key enough. Things like this tend to make you want to skip a few songs, but overall don't drag the album down as much as you'd expect.
The conclusion is that this is a very solid black metal record from a very solid black metal group, and is certainly an excellent addition to the bands discography, though maybe not as great as Ylem or Seance, this album still has a huge impact on me and I would recommend giving it a thorough listen.