Human Fortress – Epic Tales & Untold Stories

Human Fortress
Epic Tales & Untold Stories
Massacre Records
January 22, 2021
33:59/01:08:48

Author: Erich Robbers

It’s the time for best-of and live albums right now. Almost everyone throws such things on the market in some form. “Epic Tales & Untold Stories” by the epic power metal band Human Fortress from Hanover is largely announced as a new album, but besides a few brand-new tracks it is more of an EP with additional rare recordings and a second CD with best of pieces. The formers are quasi the “untold stories”, the latter the “epic tales”. Well, Human Fortress have been known as a “better” Power Metal band since they began at the beginning of the new millennium. Their albums have mostly received good to very good ratings and the songs of the Hanoverians do not sound constructed on the drawing board but performed in their own way.

I openly admit that I liked the former voice of Human Fortress, singer Jioti Parcharidis, who sang the first two albums, more appropriately than that of Gus Monsanto, who has been on the microphone for a while now. Accordingly, the well-known “epic tales” are more compelling for me than the “untold stories”. Still, we have to do with the new tracks like “The Grimoire” and “Diappear In Dark Shadows” with good Power Metal songs. The guitar work of Todd Wolf and Volker Trost is still very mature and powerful, rhythms and solos of great class. But the epic touch that gave Human Fortress that certain something on previous albums has been lost a little.

Various string sounds in the background of “Vain Endeavor” and “Free” cannot compensate for this either. The latter song is more of a ballad-like path anyway. Such songs fit very well with Gus Monsanto, who just has the clearer, more melodic voice. “Fernweh”, which begins bombastically, is by no means a German song, but just as equipped with English lyrics like the other new pieces.

With “We Are Legion” there are also screams to be heard and choirs manifest the strong appearance. With heavy riffs and folky keyboards in the background, the previously unreleased “Cruel Fantasy” knows how to please. Fast rhythms that are mostly known from Human Fortress. At the end of album 1, Human Fortress let Gus Mosanto work on “Pray For Salavation” from the album “Raided Lands”. Abundantly ballad-like and in a tenderly symphonic version.

Album 2 offers, as mentioned, a 15-song potpourri of the previous work of Human Fortress. The highlights are certainly the strong “The Dragons Lair” from the debut “Lords Of Earth And Heaven’s Heir” with its great vocal lines, as well as the title song from “Defender Of The Crown”, which is slightly reminiscent of Savatage. Of the newer songs, for example, the two parts of “The Gladiator Of Rome Part 1 + 2”, which produce any majestic sounds in accordance with the Roman Empire. Especially the first part reminds a little of Virgin Steele.

Otherwise, you can as a non-expert on the Human Fortress-back catalogue of mostly brisk (Epic) Power Metal songs delight, sometimes somber and weighty a la Rhapsody of Fire (“Lucifer’s Waltz”), sometimes in Primal Fear close as “Rise Or Fall “. All in all, a valuable package that feeds both Human Fortress fans with new and rare songs and otherwise offers a good introduction to finally getting to know this band from Hanover. Definitely worth it.

HUMAN FORTRESS – The Grimoire (Lyric Video): https://youtu.be/bT99caM199E

Lineup:

Gus Monsanto – Vocals
Todd Wolf – Gitarren
Volker Trost – Gitarren
André Hort – Bass
Dirk Liehm – Keys
Apostolos Zaios – Drums

Former band members

Jioti Parcharidis – Vocals
Pablo J. Tammen – Bass
Dirk Marquardt – Keys

Guests

Michael Bormann: Backing-Vocals and Akustikgitarre at “The Grimoire”
Tommy Newton: Bass at “Disappear In Dark Shadows”
Hartmut Richter: Violine at “Border Raid In Lions March”
Andreas Kienitz: Lead Guitars at “Defenders Of The Crown”

More backing vocals by Tommy Newton, Mel Newton, Jens Wunder, Juanra Hernandez, Carsten Frank, Axel Kiehne, Ali Gürkan, Nico Lange & Björn Patschurek on all songs that were originally released on the album “Defenders Of The Crown”

Track list:

CD 1

  • The Grimoire
  • Disappear In Dark Shadows
  • Vain Endeavour
  • Free
  • Fernweh
  • We Are Legion (Gus Version)
  • Cruel Fantasy
  • Pray For Salvation (Orchestral Version)

CD 2

  • Lord Of Earth And Heavens Heir (Edit Version)
  • The Dragons Lair
  • Defenders Of The Crown
  • Border Raid In Lions March
  • Gladiator Of Rome (Part 1)
  • Gladiator Of Rome (Part 2)
  • Wasted Years
  • The Chosen One
  • Dark Knight
  • Thieves Of The Night
  • Rise Or Fall
  • Thrice Blessed
  • Lucifer’s Waltz
  • Surrender
  • Thunder
  • 8/10
    Album - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Songwriting - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Cover Art - 8/10
8/10
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