» Blog Archive Death Fortress Return With "Triumph of the Undying" -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

death fortress 2I wrote last year that Death Fortress’ Deathless March of the Unyielding in  very high regard. From diverse songwriting to a nice balance of traditional black metal vocals exchanged tastefully with death growls, Death Fortress had something special with that album, and even though there were other great black metal releases last year, the band stood out among the rest because they didn’t waste a single moment of their time. So what do you do when you’ve got some high expectations to meet? Make another album and disregard everyone else.

Triumph of the Undying looks and feels like a sister album to Deathless March. From its chaotic and frostbitten artwork, right down to the composition and length, Death Fortress are making it evident that they’re continuing where their previous effort left off, and in a way the album does feel like a continuation into the blistering storm they’ve conjured. There’s some changes in guitar tone and the production has more of a lo-fi approach than their other albums, but Triumph of the Undying matches the band’s best material, and possibly pushes past to create a new standard for their songwriting.

“Storming Wrath” is possibly the biggest misdirect the band could have given for listeners, seeing as it is perhaps the safest track of the six presented here. That’s not speak ill of it, though; there’s excellent blast beats and flutter picking segments to be had here, and overall it does its job at setting the tone for the album. It’s when you reach “Warrior’s Mantle,” however, that you realize this isn’t a band that’s going to play sequences of 32nd notes chain-linked with one another and repeating for 30-or-so minutes. Melodic-yet-dissonant picking patterns and lead parts are immediately at the focus here, and with drums that aren’t afraid to dial it back and create dynamics (With well-placed fills, as well) for the entire piece of music.

Yes, Death Fortress aren’t afraid to step outside of the normal and focus on being “BROOTAL” for the sake of it. The title track starts off with a relatively simple drum beat that may throw one off, but once the song takes off, it quickly becomes of the band’s crowning achievements thus far. In truth, many may ask if Death Fortress succeed because their heaviness or their dynamic drumming or their dual-vocal approach. While all of those are easily in the band’s strengths, the truth is the band simply knows how to service a song and not overstay their welcome. Clocking in at 32 minutes, Triumph of the Undying is a quick listen, but one with absolutely zero filler tracks to make you impatient.

In exchange for the meatier guitar tones present on the band’s previous releases, the band has opted to include a more razor-sharp like guitar tone, best resembling that of the Norwegian bands of the early 90’s. However, I can see this being a turn off to some, since it makes the already lo-fi production the band had and take it a step down. The sound works for the band, I won’t ignore that fact, however I can see it being ultimately problematic for those less accustomed to the lower quality recordings of black metal acts.

Plain and simple, though, Death Fortress have done it again with Triumph of the Undying. From its aesthetic to its finely crafted songwriting, Death Fortress don’t leave much to be desired other than more music in this vein. For a genre that prides itself on tradition and conformity to battle conformity, Death Fortress are doing a damn fine job of doing what they do best and not letting anyone dictate it.

Triumph of the Undying is available on the band’s Bandcamp right now. You can stream the album below.

 

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