Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Death Fortress - Mirror into Eternity (Fallen Empire Records)

Hypnotic and powerful, these are the words that came to mind when I first heard Death Fortress and with this release I still feel those two elements. Death Fortress is a black metal project of New Jersey musician Joe Aversario and this is his third release under the name. All the tracks on this release are fast paced hypnotic black metal, the relentless blasting of the drums is really the cornerstone of this release, they rarely let up and the aggression created through this method playing is hypnotic and palpable. When the songs do tread into less aggressive territory they instill a sense of lurking evil. The seething guitar parts on the track “Master-Deceiver” are a good example of this; it’s chaotic and frenzied but creates uneasiness, a foreboding sense of the madness to come. Aggression is still the key element, the songs are not mournful or dismal but instead Aversario creates a powerful atmosphere, one that is complemented well by the vocals. The vocals on this release, and on every Death Fortress release, are harsh grunts rather than the traditional black metal rasp. The vocals are commanding and dominating, not lost in the mix they stand in the forefront. Comparisons to Hate Forest are obvious, I’ve even made the comparison myself but Death Fortress is no mere clone. Death Fortress is playing in a way that honors the sound created by the Ukrainian pioneers but is still very different and unique. This is a very impressive release from Death Fortress, one that displays Aversario’s ability to create a truly powerful piece of music.

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