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What the FUCK? This is what we've been waiting five years for since Defenders of the Crown? I admit to getting a bit over-excited by that album when I first heard it, but fuck, it was a fucking golden Heavy Metal classic compared to this one. In between that album and this one, Human Fortress lost their singer, the admirable Jioti Parcharidis, along with a guitarist and a bassist, and it seems that they took all the talent out of the band with them, because, even though we're not done with 2008 yet, I can say that Eternal Empire is both by far the worst Metal album we'll hear this year and the worst example of trend-riding, mainstream whoring poser crap I've seen on this side of Arsis.
Human Fortress doesn't even sound like the same band that they did in 2003. Picture simple, repetitive pop synths and power chords layered over with vomit-inducing metalcore chug riffs and atrocious nu-metal barking with a side of whiny, radio-obsessed clean choruses that would make Green Day cringe, and you'd have something close to how annoying this is. If there was ever a genre called Power Metalcore, then this is it. There are no good songs here, and the worst thing about this is that you can still hear the talent that the band is trying so desperately to hide in the solos that crop up for a few seconds at a time in some of the tracks and the verses, which Carsten Frank admittedly does well when he sings clean, despite the mostly horrendous vocals he pollutes the rest of the album with. Every song just plods along with disgusting, sleazy grooves and lame "atmospheric" parts that will make you wish you were sticking your ear in a blender rather than listening to this. It is seriously that bad. The music here is simple and basic, but it's also incoherent and jumbled, with several songs having random segues into heavier sections or softer ones, but it all sucks, guaranteed. Come on, who the fuck are you kidding, Human Fortress, throwing songs like "The Raven" at us? Just listen to that awful, awful chorus, and tell me your balls didn't shrivel up a bit inside.
The band knows no bounds or limitations as they go through the seven circles of unredeemable sin, churning out garishly awful aberrations like the opening "Contrast," with its hideously out of place female operatic vocals in the chorus, the funky Korn-esque breakdown type thing on "Lion's Den," and the worst song I've heard all year in "The Raven," which is just five minutes of really bad groove riffs and yapping metalcore try-hard tough guy croaking.
This album is more than a disappointment; it actually offends me on a level that music never should, because this band was once worth something, and to hear them falling from grace like this is shockingly repulsive. It is so low and dirty that it will make the listener's mood deteriorate in the same manner that the band's music has, and while I take no great pleasure in destroying a band I once enjoyed like this, it needs to be said: Human Fortress have failed, and Eternal Empire is a stain on their reputation that will never come out. There isn't even anything beyond the surface aesthetics that sucks, this is just BAD FUCKING MUSIC, period. Beyond terrible. Human Fortress, you just earned yourself a time out. Go sit in the corner.