German Black Metal band, Dark Fortress, are one of the few in years that I have considered as masters of Black Metal. I never seize to mention them whenever someone brings up the genre. Simply because they are masters of their game and they are wise with their every move. I'm talking about of course, the pre-Morean era. Back when Azathoth was still their vocalist.
The intro sounds very epic and put together beautifully with the clean vocals. Almost unexpected if you compare it to the way Azathoth sang slower and clean songs, a good surprise. It shows that Morean also has something to bring to the table. Their first track, 'Ylem', is one of their best. It has such an intensity that it marks a very good first impression. It really got me pumped and excited to listen to the rest. Then 'As the World Keels over' comes next. It's not as fast and intensified as the first but a smoother and a slower, cautious song.
Now I'll skip to 'Satan Bled'. I'd say this song hints a little bit of the bands past. It's nice to know they still have not forgotten who they are completely. And the new vocals don't alter much for me either. The differences between the two vocalists are clearly visible, but I don't believe the newer vocals causes any value to Dark Fortress. Azathoth may have sounded a bit more aggressive on some degree, but Morean is just as hostile and adds freshness to their sound.
It is different compared to older Dark Fortress. It is not a concept album like the last one, on which Morean also took part of the vocals. It is decent and has its brief, shining moments. Most songs are at a slower pace, less raw, less shredding performances on the guitar (who doesn't oogle over riffs and solos, really?) and lacks the different elements (thrash, heavy metal) that were put in older albums. It is Black Metal. Pure Black Metal. Not so Melodic as before, it's just not quite there. Fans of older Dark Fortress may not like this at first and I can see this happening. It may appear more dull and drilling, but after a few spins you'll find that you are doing movements with your head. They still have the great artsy fartsy poetic lyrics, though.
For me, conversation about this topic is forever changed. Talk to me about Black Metal and I will now give you a different answer. 'I really like Dark Fortress, Old Dark Fortress'.