Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Human Fortress - Raided Land (2013)

I was never a huge fan of Human Fortress; I liked them but they were never top tier for me.  “Defenders of the Crown” was an excellent album and I actually really enjoyed “Eternal Empire.” Sure “Eternal Empire” tried different things, but it was a good experiment. After that album it left the band in an odd state. Where would they go from here musically? Continuing the current sound wasn’t a bad choice and going back to the older sound wasn’t bad either. On “Raided Land” it seems like they found a happy medium that should please longtime fans and new comers. Is it the most groundbreaking album? No. Does it redefine who they are as musicians? No. Is “Raided Land” completely enjoyable and does it have some kick ass riffs? Absolutely. What Human Fortress has created on the new album is a pretty awesome listen. For the fans that were jaded by “Eternal Empire,” give this one a spin.

With “Raided Land” and “Child of War” it’s evident that they brought the sound back to the “Defenders of the Crown” days. They sound like they belong on that album and that is perfectly acceptable. “Wasted Years” is an oddball of a song. It takes the band in a weird direction, but the weirdest thing of all is that it works. It’s so vastly different than the majority of their songs but it’s still a keeper. “The Chosen One” and “Shelter” have some killer guitar solos. “Gladiator of Rome pt. II” is a continuation of the song with the same name from “Defenders of the Crown.” This is a track where the new vocalist, Gus Monsanto, really shines. His vocals bring a much more epic sound to the music. The chorus is just incredible on this song.
  “Dark Knight” is a decent track with a good riff. The whole of the song doesn’t do anything the other tracks haven’t done and it really isn’t that memorable. ‘Pray for Salvation” is another song that would be forgettable if it wasn’t for the outstanding last half. From the middle of the song and on it just gets fantastic. The keyboard is the real highlight here with some mind-blowing melodies. “Evil Curse” is another track that doesn’t really add to the album and can be skipped. “Restless Souls” is much better than the previous track and has a great solo section. “Under Siege” is a balls to the wall power metal song through and through; it’s also one of the fastest and best tracks on the album. “Guard the Blind” closes the album and it doesn’t really do a good job. It’s not a bad track; it’s just not the great bookend that this album deserves.

“Raided Land” is one of those albums that don’t do anything new but it’s just so damned good. Human Fortress is back and they sound better than ever. The guitar sand drums are tighter, the production is better, the keyboards are magnificent and the Gus Monsanto does a great job as the new front man. There were a couple of down parts on this album, but the good far outweighs the bad. “Gladiator of Rome” and ‘The Chosen One” are amazing songs. For any longtime fans of Human Fortress, I assure you that they are back full throttle and they’re here to stay. I don’t want to jump the gun but I’m going to anyway; this might be their best album yet. Go out and listen to this now.


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