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Not the Dark Fortress of Old But Still Decent - 85%

josephatx, July 2nd, 2008

First, let's mention the obvious. There is a new vocalist, which now leaves the guitarist as the only original member. This will anger/disappoint fans of the old Dark Fortress, no doubt, but it still makes for a decent album.

This album features great production and a good atmosphere. As always, the keyboards provide a good, haunting vibe that makes you feel a little uneasy and depressed. The guitars have some great riffing from time to time, offering some very memorable moments in some songs. The new vocalist is pretty good and makes his own niche in the new sound. So what's not to like?

The problem is that this album lacks some "soul". Some of the riffs come off as a little too cliche and, at times, boring. Each of the songs have good highlights, but they are eventually drowned by an extra two to three minutes of fillers. This album is interesting for a few listens, then just kinda falls into mediocre symphonic black metal.

Looking at it from a Dark Fortress fan's perspective, this album is a weak attempt compared to the Dark Fortress of old. Looking at this from an unbiased fan's viewpoint, this album lacks that extra edge and sounds like "manufactured evil". You can't make or force out that sinister, evil vibe in a recording studio, it has to come out through the artists expression, vision, and suffering. I just do not find that here. It sounds like an unnatural, forced aggression to pump out another album.

Overall, this is not a horrible album. As stated before, there is a lot to like here. I just find that there is so much more black metal out there that has that "real" angst (perhaps you could start with the Dark Fortress of old).