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HUMAN FORTRESS Raided Land

By Damian J. Cousins aka "The Maestro", Dallas Contributor
Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 9:32 AM


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HUMAN FORTRESS
Raided Land

AFM Records





So Iím on my fourth or fifth listen to Raided Land, the new album from HUMAN FORTRESS, out now via AFM Records and I am one happy camper right now. And before all you purists come flying out of the woodwork to tell me that their older stuff is better and yada, yada, yada, let me tell you this: I donít care. I have never listened to them before and something about this band strikes a chord in me. THIS is a Power Metal band I can get into. There arenít layers and layers of synth, no choirs, and all the songs donít sound the same, which drives me nuts when it comes to some of these outfits. I wonít name names because Iím not going to fault a band for following their creative vision; suffice to say that HUMAN FORTRESS are a band that I am certainly enjoying right now.

As soon as opener and title track "Raided Land" kicked in, I knew I was going to like these guys. Right from the outset I was all about the potent combination of new addition Gus Monsantoís vocals and the twin riff attack of Torsten Wolf and Volker Trost. New keyboardist Dirk Liehm knows exactly how to get the most out of his instrument, opting to enhance the feel of these songs, and not play over everything around him. Itís called Power METAL for a reason; we have to hear the guitars, DUH! And yet when heís in the driverís seat it yields one of the albumís best tracks in "Wasted Years", complementing Monsantoís voice perfectly. Another new guy, bassist Andre Hort and drummer Apostolos Zaios are in full lockstep on this and every other song as well. This is one tight band, let me tell you. "Child of War" has the feel of back-in-the-day 80ís metal, but it sounds more like vintage Icon than some made for MTV garbage and was another instant favorite from the word GO. The riffs and thunderous drums of "Gladiator of Rome (Part 2)" should quickly show the world that these guys are a force to be reckoned with, while "Shelter" moves forward like an advancing army on a medieval battlefield, ready to spill blood. Speaking of, the fact that this is a large portion of the subject matter isnít lost on me, either. The band manages to spin this type of yarn effortlessly without being cheesy, which is a welcome change from what Iíve had to endure as of late.

The Euro-Metal sound is alive and well on "The Chosen One", but again, in a good way, not bad. Why canít more of these bands find the right balance? I wish I knew. Now with all this praise, there were a couple of things I wasnít thrilled with. For example, "Dark Knight" is one of those songs that suffer from a not-great title and the music isnít much better. "Evil Curse" is another one that I just couldnít get into, either. The guitars are heavy enough, but it didnít click for some reason. But really these are minor glitches because "Pray For Salvation" is a sneak-up-on-you track that really ramps up the heavy halfway through another tale of the battlefield.

Another strong track is "Restless Souls". With a very grandiose intro courtesy of Liehm and then the band coming in with both barrels loaded it could have easily been the album opener in my opinion. And then you have "Under Siege", yet another kickass number with Monsanto shifting from his lower to higher range like itís nothing. One more dose of that medieval influence is back for last song "Guard the Blind" which is really the perfect way to close the book on a great album of Power Metal. Considering this isnít normally my thing, the boys in HUMAN FORTRESS have impressed the hell out of me, and I highly recommend Raided Land.

4.0 Out of 5.0


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