Fortress - Fortress

Year of Release:
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

I'm looking at this pile of discs and tapes that plague my desktop, and I am going through these as fast as I can to keep up with the influx, isn't life grand? ;o)

I've never been a fan of EPs, until I realized that some of the best music comes out on EPs like Angra, Sunblaze, XerXes, Divine Regale, and many others who have changed my way of listening ... I have a big problem paying full CD price for a 4-song EP, but my lust for great prog metal and the collector in me keep me coming back for more and paying out the $$ for these things.

Which leads me to this disc. I've read mediocre reviews about this disc, ranging from weak songs, to poor production, to bad singer. Why I would buy this after reading so many negative things about a band is beyond me, but Mike Campbell sent me some samples from this disc and I wondered if I had the same disc in my hand that I had been reading about. This is excellent material !!!!!


After spending weeks with this disc trying to figure out what the hell it is all about, I think I have a firm grasp on the sound and style. I hear a combination of Labyrinth, Treasure Land and Tritonus in this band. If any of those bands intrigue you, you will most likely dig this disc as much as I am. Combining the techno-keyboard sound of Labyrinth, with the unique not-so-typical neo-classical approach of Treasure Land, with the song structures and vocal stylings of Tritonus, I've deemed this one of the better EPs I've heard in a long time. Ranging from speedy, to stop / start tempos, to twin guitar leads (with only one guitarist), to the sometimes epic sound of the keyboards, this disc has quickly found a permanent home in my player.


I don't know what everyone means by a poor sound, because this sound is nowhere in the league of a bad sound. Weak drum sound in parts, maybe. The rest of the disc is actually quite pleasing. Anyone who has heard that Tritonus demo called Shadowland has a great idea of what this sounds like ... The keyboards are way up front and clean as a whistle. The vocals are superbly recorded, and the low end is punchy. Where the problem lies is in the drum sound. It seems to be up in the mix, just muffled a bit. Not enough to take away from the excellence of this disc though. Overall, I've heard tons of discs that sound worse than this one.


If you know what the singer of Tritonus sounds like, you have a pretty good idea of what this singer sounds like. If you don't, try to imagine an accented Don Dokken only not as refined as Don. This band and singer are from Greece, and his accent is slight, and adds a nice flair to this music. So, try to imagine what a weaker version, slightly lower toned and accented, not as refined Don Dokken sound alike and you have this singer. He is mid-range, melodic, and only uses his higher range when he harmonizes. It is quite evident that he can hit the high notes with ease, but he chooses to stay within the mid-range. No problem whatsoever in this dept.


Only 3 members are listed: The drummer, the singer, and the guitarist. The guitarist and singer stand out in this band, and although I find nothing stand out about the drummer, I don't really analyze what drummers do since I feel that most drummers who play in a prog metal band are well qualified. I've already covered the singer, and the drummer does well at what he plays. The guitarist is certainly what drives this band, and he seems to be well schooled in neo-classical playing, but not in the same style as a Romeo or Jornqvist. It's a strange style, much like the guitarist extraordinaire of Tritonus. I keep bringing this band up because you'd swear that this was Tritonus playing if you didn't know it was Fortress; and that's not a bad thing. The guitarist has some lead runs throughout the disc, and also uses harmonizing leads along the way. He is definitely the standout man in this band, and his playing style would make the envy list of many a musician in the up and coming ranks.


How this band isn't getting a deal, no matter how small, is beyond me. They certainly have the talent and writing skills to be a contender although I realize that it takes much more than that. I'm not sure of everyone is comfortable paying full disc price for an EP, but in this case I feel it is well worth it. Personally, I don't mind paying the price to experience great prog metal like this band offers up, and I take much delight being able to hear any prog metal band from any country. You'd never expect a great prog metal band to come out of Greece, but I've read a lot about this country and their offerings to the music world. Hopefully, someone out there will recognize the greatness of some of these bands and give them the shot that they deserve. In the meantime, this band gets the big thumbs up from me.




Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin GR

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1270
Language: english


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