Black Metal, Metal

Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World (Review)

Artist: Dark Fortress
Album: Spectres From The Old World
Genre: Melodic / Progressive Black Metal
Country: Germany
Release Date: 28th of February 2020
Released via Century Media Records
Cover Artwork © Century Media Records 2020

Today I like to present you the new album by Dark Fortress, a German Melodic / Progressive Black Metal Band from Bavaria, founded already in 1994. Spectres From The Old World is their eighth full-length studio release, and to be honest, it was a very important to me. At the end of 2014, I found my way back to Metal music after a few years of listening to 70s Rock and getting to know the Blues. As you can imagine, it was an interesting journey, but it was time to find an end.

I started to get informed about the latest releases and wanted to get back a little more, and Dark Fortress last release Veneral Dawn was one of the albums that made me stay. Until today, it is one of my favourite albums I still listen to regularly. As you can imagine, I can’t wait to listen to new songs. And now – SPOILER – it was worth waiting!

Twelve new songs can be found on Spectres From The Old World with a total play time of round about 58 minutes. We have an intro with one and a half minutes, an interlude with two and a half minutes and two songs longer than seven minutes. Okay, let’s go to the start and have a look at the intro, which is called “Nascence”, and what shall I say? After a few seconds, the drums start and I knew on point that I was absolutely right here. What a drum sound and what a drumming. In this, actually, drum intro, I can find more interesting rhythms, rolls, and blasts than on some other albums in their whole. I really loved this start and I knew they had me after I heard Morean’s vocals again on “Coalescence”. It felt like some kind of homecoming to me.

I know that there are some people who don’t like Veneral Dawn because of the keys and the more melodic take on their Metal. So Spectres might be a step back, just as Ylem was the album between Veneral and Eidolon. I hope you know what I mean… So Spectre is still melodic, but it’s also a little rougher again, more direct, but also a little slower overall I think.

While “The Spider in the Web” comes along with clean guitars and a little Wah in the solo, the song “Spectres from the Old World” is really going forward and pushes you through the song. “Pali Aike” is a mid-tempo stomper with some nice chimes in the back. On “Pazuzu” we can listen to some Thrashy snares as well as the typical blasts and also some marching rhythms.

The second half starts with the first longer track. “Isa” uses the 7:38min wisely to build up tension with a dark and intensive atmosphere, reaching the climax with its guitar solo. “Pulling at Threads” blasts you away after the calm finisher. I like dynamics ass can be heard on this album, so it’s not always the same, old song… nice gallopping by the way here.

On “Isa” you can hear additional female vocals for the first time on this album that you may know from Veneral Dawn, that’s the reason why I decided to split the album into two halfs at this point. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, I don’t know. They can be heard on “In Deepest Time” as well. “Penrose Procession” is a keyboard interlude with some dark and creepy layers, underlined by some drums.

“Swan Song” is the second longer track and it starts fast and mercilessly – to go its way, gradually slow down and turn kind of sacral when the choir enters. Then, however, hell breaks loose again with a short guitar solo. I admire songs with such fluent dynamic changes. “Nox Irae” picks up this sacral feeling and brings the album to an end.

As I mentioned already, I really like the dynamics on the songs and arrangements of the album, as well as the order they are brought in. I think there is a lot more to discover on the album, and I will surely listen to it a few more times, BUT it wasn’t able to win against Veneral Dawn. I’m sorry, but this is still my favorite. Not even cowbells could have make a change here… 😛

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

9 / 10

Favorite tracks:
“Spectres From The Old World”
“Pali Ake”

As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist 2020.

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