(Andy Synn reviews the just-released new album by New Jersey’s Death Fortress.)
Following the release of their debut album, Among the Ranks of the Unconquerable, New Jersey triumvirate Death Fortress quickly became one of my favourite Black Metal acts of the modern era.
Heck, I’d even go so far as to say that they’re one of the very best Black Metal bands ever to come out of the USA at this point.
As a result, my expectations for this, their third full-length album, are practically sky-high, and I’ve been champing at the bit to get my hands on it ever since it was announced.
So, now that the album has finally appeared online (with surprisingly little fanfare), it’s time to see whether the third time is (still) the charm.
If you’d harboured any doubts about the ability of Aversario, Warrior, and Eldridge to deliver the goods again so soon after the release of the fantastic Deathless March of the Unyielding, these should be quickly dispelled by the gloriously evil and shamelessly malevolent tones of opener “Storming Wrath”, whose every writhing riff, rippling blastbeat, and ravenous vocal part positively drips with malice and moody, morbid atmosphere.
The band’s melodic undercurrent is as deliciously dark and diabolically infectious as ever, imbuing tracks like “Warrior’s Mantle” and the raging “Battlefield Zenith” with a sense of grim, forbidding grandeur, while the sheer power and intensity of their delivery – each and every track a rampaging torrent of scything guitars and utterly ruthless drum work – remains undimmed and unwearied.
The sinister splendour and frenzied savagery of “Wisdom of the Unspoken” finds the band unleashing their fury without remorse or restraint, riding close to the very edge of chaos at times, while the biting hooks and bleak, frostbitten melodies of the title track effortlessly capture the menace and majesty of Black Metal in its purest, most unadulterated form.
Closing with the brutal, yet brooding, strains of “Underneath the Epoch’s Crown”, Triumph of the Undying proves itself to be not only the band’s shortest, sharpest, and most succinct album yet, but also a stunning entry – “old-school” without being outdated, “classic” without being clichéd, “raw” without being retro – into the ever-growing annals of Black Metal as a whole.
Did we listen to the same record, because compared to DMotU, this is weak AF.
Agreed. I was so jacked to see Wode and DM release new albums so quickly after last year’s stellar albums, but they both should have pumped the gd brakes.
The music is pretty cool but the production is unbearably god-awful. I thought my headphones were broken when I put it on. I mean, I get that it’s raw, harsh black metal and clean, polished production is not the name of the game here, but c’mon, you gotta have some standards.
The funny thing is that I’m USUALLY a bit of a production snob myself… but, for whatever reason, the rawness of this one isn’t bothering me at all.
Good record !
LP is ordered, once again another great album from Death Fortress.
Death Fortress are now three for three, and really are among the best of not only USBM, but all of modern BM. While no individual song on this album matches or exceeds Scourge of Aeons or Power From Beyond the Stars, the album as a whole stands up pretty well to its predecessors. I would rate Deathless March of the Unyielding above this one, and rank it about equal to Among the Ranks of the Unconquerable. The musicianship on this album really slays. I am still picking up nuances after many listens.
The production does seem a step down from DMotU, but it works well enough here, I find.
Now if only these guys would tour…