Friday, February 05, 2010

Black Metal Week Part 3: Dark Fortress

It's Black Metal Week only because Seth and I keep writing about black metal.

The same prospecting expedition to Wikipedia that produced this post led my discovering Dark Fortress, a German melodic black metal outfit that put out their fifth studio album, Ylem at the end of last month. Ylem is a deeply flawed album in many ways - most notably that it's really too damn long - and Dark Fortress has been around long enough that I suspect that the decision to write twelve songs with an average length of six minutes isn't something they're going to grow out of. However, I find them intriguing for the same reason I like Keep of Kalessin: with their melodic flavor, they've broke out of the stereotypical black metal mold, but they've got enough of a black edge to still sound pretty evil. "Hirudinieans," named after the scientific classification for leeches, is standard for the album: it's got some doomy material, some headbanging material, some melodic riffing and soloing, and the reasonably intelligible comparison between sycophants and parasites.

But Ylem's most interesting track is "Sycamore Trees," the album's final song. It starts out slow and soon plods forward with the speed and potential menace of an Ent, crushed by an ancient sorrow - a sonic representation of this picture. I'm not sure why, but after twelve songs of tonic madness, this one soul-dampening slog is enough of a taste of sweet sorrow to make me want to come back for more.

1 comment:

Seth said...

Ahhh didn't know they had a new record.

I discovered them because their guitarist V. Santura was in the reunited Celtic Frost and is now in Tryptykon.