Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 3/11/2008
posted on 6/2008 By:
In this time of retro thrash and monotonous breakdowns everywhere you turn, it’s pretty cool that Century Media still remains faithful to some black metal, even more so when the bands really aren’t newcomers to the scene, yet haven’t been given the opportunity to deliver their sounds to more people for whatever reasons. Germany’s Dark Fortress have been treading obscure waters since the early/mid 90’s, but since their CM debut a couple years ago, the band has slowly and steadily gained more notoriety, culminating in their latest undertaking, Eidolon. I won’t sit here pretending to have intimate knowledge of their previous work, but based only on what they’ve presented here, Dark Fortress has crafted one of the more individualistic albums I’ve heard from the label this year.
Many people compare this band to Dimmu Borgir, and to be fair I really don’t listen to a whole lot of Dimmu’ to give an apt comparison, and can only view this album on its own merits. As much of a Satyricon fanboy as I may be, I find Eidolon to be a fractionally more interesting endeavor overall than recent Satyricon material, and a lot of this disc reminds me of a more beefed-up Volcano. There’s a heftier tone than what you’d find with typically grim, or even more polished black metal, and the heaviness of the guitars is especially effective during more bloodthirsty material (“The Unflesh”), while adding a doomlike atmosphere when they slow things down during Tom G. Warrior’s badass vocal appearance on “Baphomet”. There’s an understatedly groovy riff that opens “Analepsy’ which uses the most of a simple staccato arrangement, and melds perfectly with the slow lumbering pace during the body of the tune, highlighted with a downright killer guitar solo. “Edge Of Night” is full-on black ’n’ roll for much of the track, briefly getting lost in a goofy Adams Family midsection with comical goth elements, but “No Longer Human” admirably tries to regain footing with some blasting, but ultimately uneventful, speedy black metal.
Clocking in at just a little over 50 minutes, Eidolon certainly is not a quick fix album, and likewise the songs themselves are rarely without dynamic qualities. “The Silver Gate” begins with restraint and builds momentum as the tune progresses, setting a decent pace for an opener, but after a few more full listens from start to finish, it becomes a little harder to concentrate on what’s going on overall on this disc. Even though the production is great, the musicianship is admirable, and the songwriting is competent, there isn’t a whole lot of ‘grab’ happening here. Nothing truly reaches out and kicks you in the face no matter how aggressive, groovy, or doomy the music becomes, with the possible exception of the former Celtic Frost frontman’s absolutely monstrous guest appearance I mentioned earlier.
I think it comes down to trying to do too much, with too much. It’s very easy to let the mind wander to other things once Eidolon is about halfway through playing, and the editing of most songs by a couple minutes would have helped greatly with keeping the momentum going for the length of the entire album. Dark Fortress is definitely not a crappy band, but there’s a lot of disconnection going on that hinders the overall impact that could have been made here. You could say it’s a bit too epic for its own good, without the necessary attention-grabbing qualities a disc of this nature needs to keep the listener completely enthralled. As background music, Eidolon is a good choice, but as a sit down and jam-out release, this isn’t something I’d recommend. There is potential for a classic from this band, but this ain’t it.
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