Due for release at the end of November, Human Fortress return with new vocalist Gus Monsanto (Timo Tolkki's Revolution Renaissance, Adagio), for their long awaited fourth album, and what an enjoyable treat it is.
From the outset the keyboards mix well with crunchy twin guitars and rough yet solid vocals for some power Metal nodding at the melodic end of the spectrum. The opening title track soon settles with some neat guitar harmonies, and vocals with a good range that could nod at Doogie White.
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Second track 'Child Of War' is more of a trad solid 80s Metal track; think American power Metal influenced by Saxon, Judas Priest and Metallica.
'Wasted Years' mixes heart-felt power rock (the Metal end of AOR) with some serious Metal bursts; from melodic to machine-gun drum all out Metal, and the synthed orchestra works well in there too.
'Shelter' and 'The Chosen One' both show how good solid straight ahead Metal can be. And while the vocal harmonies are a million miles short of Freedom Call, they work when in place, and the melodies use of synths are fitting. Again, far from the extremes of Rhapsody, but this power Metal with melodic touches.
'Dark Knight's' intro nods to marching band drums before some serious Manny Charlton-esque 90s Metal comes in. The album rounds up in this vein, with power, melody and plenty of mood changes.
The rhythm changes (especially the marching band drum segments) do catch my ear. Have to admit I like power Metal a tad more melodic (I'm a Freedom Call/Rhapsody nut) but there's plenty here to enjoy, and the shred works well too.
Solid rhythms, powerful vocals, and Metal that kicks your arse without (thank fuck) going Nu, Alternative or Grunge. Well worth checking out.