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This is the third release of black metal outfit Dark Fortress, and the first album of theirs I have heard. Though it usually takes me a listen or so to actually get into a lot of black metal, "Profane Genocidal Creations" hit me immediately, and from the first time I heard it, it went on heavy rotation in my CD player. With this release, they combine the acoustic passages in the vein of Dissection, with black metal in the style of mid-years Emperor and early Satyricon. And for a black metal album, it is produced very well, with production most similar to Dissection's. The tone of the acoustic production is set very well, and works very well with the songs with the way the passages are arranged. They accomplish the same with the keyboard sections, as opposed to the keyboards taking over as the primary instrument, and laying down nothing but a simplistic classical composition (tonic subdominant dominant tonic), rather they write very well, and pay attention to its overall place in the mix itself.
I love the way they write on this album, they don't take cliches of black metal and repeat them over and over again, such as 32nd note single note passages, nor do they adhere to simply using the keyboards as a rhythm instrument on the synth choir or string settings, they go beyond those cliches to find their own voice.
The combination of great clean vocal parts layered over the entire song is another thing they accomplish very well here. The best example is 5 minutes into the track "Defiance of Death", the way everything is brought together is simply awesome, and makes me rewind almost everytime. Needless to say, that is my favorite track on the album. The rest of the album is similar, "In Morte Aeternitas" comes close, but doesn't match "Defiance of Death".
Dark Fortress has done a good job in finding their own voice in black metal. Fans of Dissection, Emperor, Burzum, Satyricon... check out this album, those bands may pretty much be gone, but at least you can check out a band that has done what those bands have done, which is to find their own voice, and avoid stylistic cliches.
Standout Tracks: Defiance of Death, In Morte Aeternitas
This is the second album from these German Melodic Black Metallers, and while I can't say that it is very original, it is pretty good. All the instruments are pretty clear, and the vocals shift between rasps, female vocals, and clean spoken word parts.
The production is actually really good. It was recorded in Grieghallen studios in Norway, where many of the classic BM bands recorded some of their albums, such as Emperor, Mayhem, Immortal, Burzum, etc. This alone could make someone automatically give this a 100 rating, but where it is recorded doesn't make a damn, so that this is why I am giving it an 80.
This album reminds me a lot of Dimmu Borgir. The vocals in particular sound very much like Shagrath circa Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, and the music circa Spiritual Black Dimensions, where sometimes the keyboards take total control. The guitars are very well played, with some thrashy riffing and some complex arrangements. There is even a little mixture of some old school BM thrown in here and there, with some parts sounding like they came from Dark Funeral's music. Anyway. The drums sound very good. The blast beats are clear and the double bass work is excellent. The bass is even audible, what a surprise, considering this is BM, not Prog Rock. It all makes for an enjoyable album, with an intro that sounds very much like Fear and Wonder from Dimmu's Puritanical... album, to me anyway.
Bottom line: You like your BM melodic, then this is the album for you. If you like it raw and dirty, then maybe you should stay away from this and get yourself some Darkthrone or early Mayhem.
To begin in a different way from my other reviews, I'll begin here with the visual aspect of the thing. At first sight their logo looks cliché, but a closer look will make you see some quite cool details and a fortress (reminds me some full of details stuffs I did, that's maybe why it looks cool for me...). And the cover, well... even if there might be a mood or something here, the theme is too common and leads to an unattractive one with no real impact. It was done by Kris Werwimp... well a very simple drawing can have more impact than a full of colors painting... All the more it costs at the very least 35 Euros to get a painted cover...
Now that my artistic moment is over, let's talk about the music.
It begins in a too simple and melodic way, and then follows some Black metal à la very old EMPEROR. They have got the same kind of melodic riffs and the same way of using the synths. Old HECATE ENTHRONED may be quoted for the keyboards also. Some primal black à la old DARK FUNERAL is here as well.
There are some old school metal/ Black metal touches here and there, it may remind me of DESASTER (Ger)'s first recordings for this reason.
The first track as well as some riffs are Ok, but the whole is melted in so many too common and simple riffs I've ever heard so many times... very often the arrangements and melodies sound too cliché for my ears!
No, fuck this shit! The more I listen to the tracks, the more it sounds cliché and unimaginative!
So many mags and zines will give a good review to this one it's only laughable! Once you're tight with almost correct tracks, you can get good reviews almost everywhere... So sad!
Nothing new nor worth the listening if you're into Black metal since more than 4/5 years!