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Dark Fortress
Venereal Dawn

Company: Century Media
Release: 2014
Genre: Black
Reviewer: T. Ray Verteramo

  • Auditory heroin



  • What I appreciate the most about black metal is its ability to spiritually, as well as physically, affect the listener. When it is done with skill and structure, it can be a memorable experience. But, when the music is executed without conscientiousness, without parameters at all, the effect is usually pathetic. However, sometimes an ugly clam hides a black pearl of "auditory heroin", and that is what happens with "Venereal Dawn". The engagement sneaks in as your rationality tries to understand what you're hearing while the rest of you nestles in its familiarity because you have heard this all before, during the most thoughtful, introspective, and insecure moments of your life.

    This is a very special album.

    More "Santa Muerte" than "Hail Satan", there are no outstanding performers in this outfit. There are no virtuosos or trailblazers, yet every one of the six players knows their role and space within the composition. The vocals (Morean) purr and chant in deep baritones and the drums (Seraph) drive the machine more than provide a foundation. The guitars (V. Santura) could be considered cacophonic or skillful, depending on the moment, while the keyboards (Paymon) and bass (Draug) keep the noise arrangements coherent and unified just enough not to allow the notes to run off the pages. To a trained ear, these men are oddly mismatched. But, somehow, whatever it is they're doing, it works.

    From the carelessly thoughtful prose of "Chrysalis," to the pulsating and primitive, "Betrayal & Vengeance," every song has a distinctive identity, all befitting under Fortresses' umbrella signature. Like poetry without rhyme; though at times you're not sure if you're hearing a mess or genius, it finds a way to make sense. The title track and "Lliogor" are both lyrical and engaging. "The Deep", creates beauty from discomfort, raising Theravada vocals over guitar strings tuned so loose, their vibrations against the wood make your eardrums squirm until the music reaches into your head to pull you out of your flesh.

    This project drains you, fills you, and then surrounds you. This is what music is supposed to do transcend and change your present state. And though Dark Fortress doesn't enjoy distinction as individual musicians, the strange alchemy they are able to weave together forms an opium veil which enshrouds you into an altered state, without warning or permission, and that is Art.



    About this Writer:
    T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: DARK FORTRESS
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Venereal DawnDark Fortress
    2014
    T. Ray Verteramo9/10/2014


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: DARK FORTRESS
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    YlemDark Fortress
    2010
    David Loveless5/11/2010


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: DARK FORTRESS
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    MoreanDark FortressT. Ray Verteramo10/24/2014


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