Review FORTRESS ‘Don’t Spare the Wicked’

Fortress, that is a band name that exists more than once. There are countless bands with this moniker and the band we are talking here about is Fortress, hailing from the US. Whittier, California is the homebase of a band that consist out of Chris Scott Nunez (v), Fili Bibiano (g, key), Damian Rejon (b) and Rob Duran (d). The band started in 2016 after guitarist Fili Bibiano ended his former band Auxilery.

An independently released EP called ‚Fortress‘ created some first excitement in the metallic underground. The band came to the attention of German label High Roller Records and a contract was signed between the two. The way was paved for Fortress’ debut.

‘Don’t Spare the Wicked’ is the title of this first milestone in Fortress’ history and listening to the album shows why High Roller Records showed some interest in signing the band. Traditional heavy metal with class is what Fortress offer, music that has an old-school inspiration without sounding outdated.

Driven by the unless energy of youth, the quartet starts the speedy ‘Lost Forever’ into the album. Tempo, melodies, and vocal lines are a perfect match and showcase a band that is fully dedicated to their interpretation of heavy metal. Not to forget in this context the high pitch screams of frontman Nunez, who is a real metal siren.

The quartet isn’t afraid to also use keyboards, not as a dominating instrument but more as a great way to add melody and density to songs like the stunning ‘Anguish’. Also the rock’n’roll roots don’t come up short. Listen to ‘Red Light Runner’ and you will experience the beauty of classic rock in a metal context.

Regardless which song you choose, there will be no disappointment. The moderately paced ‘Children of the Night’ is a cool tune on the album and in case you are looking for the ‘trademark’-song, I recommend the title track. ‘Don’t Spare the Wicked’ is not only the grand finale. It is also a song that reflects a lot, Fortress stands for musically.

Fortress offer songs that are ear-pleasers for fans of bands like Liege Lord, Forte, Queensryche and others. The greatness of this debut is, that everything sounds vivid and fresh based on the freedom that comes with a debut album. ‘Don’t Spare the Wicked’ is a jaw-dropping good first longplayer that fans of power- and US metal shouldn’t miss. Wow.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Lost Forever
  2. Devil’s Wheel
  3. Anguish
  4. Red Light Runner
  5. Find Yourself
  6. Children of the Night
  7. The Passage
  8. Don’t Spare the Wicked

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: US Metal

Release Date EU: November 26th, 2021

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