CD review DARK FORTRESS ‘Spectres From the Old World’

German Black Metal command Dark Fortress is back with a new longplayer. Six long years after ‘Venereal Dawn’ left the dark dungeons of abyss, the quintet returns with ‘Spectres From the Old World’. It looks like the guys made good use of time, working on songs that are majestic and for sure not following a cookie-cutter approach.

‘Spectres From the Old World’ reflects again the bands approach of not being bound to genre specifics. Of course it’s Black Metal you get but it’s more the guys from Landshut, Germany have to offer. With songs like ‘Pulling at Threads’ and ‘Coalescence’ the longplayer features furious black Metal anthems, being a hellish injection. Without taking a foot off the pedal Dark Fortress gets atmosphere and melody into these face-smashing tracks. However, it’s a much wider take on Black Metal that’s reflected by the quintet.

Melodic guitar parts create soundscapes of doom and evanescence, a pattern that’s picked-up and amplified by some other tracks on ‘Spectres From the Old World’. ‘Swan Song’ is one of these songs. The tempo is reduced, choral passages are adding some evil beauty and a pounding rhythm feels like a marching beat for a trip towards decay.

Another step away from Black Metal conformity comes with a song called ‘In Deepest Time’. Blackened soundscapes, growls more than hoarse screams and a mighty riff is what creates a very special atmosphere. ‘In Deepest Time’ proves that you don’t need to play fast to become heavy. This slowly rolling masterpiece is one of the most intense tracks on the album, spreading an evil vibe by its contrasts and musical thoroughness.

Lyrically ‘Spectres From the Old Time’ connects to the ending of ‘Venereal Dawn’ but doesn’t build on an own storyline itself. What acts as a glue for the songs is the overarching view on the decline of mankind, cosmology and the lifecycle of a universe. To show the world in a by mankind untouched manner, Dark Fortress moves thematically towards the end of the world with the aim to open the gate towards alternative universes. Also from this perspective the quintet moves away from the genre-typical cliches about hell, devil and goat heads.

‘Spectres From the Old World’ is a statement of stellar Black Metal. It shows the variety of possibilities the genre offers if you’re committed to leave standards and conformity behind you. Dark Fortress delivers with their eighth full-length longplayer a genre highlight that lifts the bar. ‘Spectres From the Old World’, a pitch-black beauty to fall in love with.

Rating: 10 out of 10.


  1. Nascence (Intro)
  2. Coalescence
  3. The Spider in the Web
  4. Spectres from the Old World
  5. Pali Aike
  6. Pazuzu
  7. Isa
  8. Pulling At Threads
  9. In Deepest Time
  10. Penrose Procession (Interlude)
  11. Swan Song
  12. Nox Irae

Label: Century Media

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date EU: February 28th, 2020



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