In the 1980’s the Sunset Strip was the epicenter of the music world. On any given weekend night hundreds of fans and band members roamed the Sunset Strip making contacts and promoting upcoming shows. It became a huge, recurring outdoor party. However, as famous as bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant and Guns ’N’ Roses became, there were many other bands, some equally talented, that never rose above the level of being local club favorites. Most of these bands would have been lost to history if not for Sonic Age Records out of Greece. Sonic Age and their subsidiary label Cult Metal Classics specializes in finding and releasing albums by little known metal bands that deserved to be heard both back in the day and now in present times.
One of those bands is Fortress. In the late 80’s I spent a lot of time in the rock clubs of Hollywood, covering bands for Screamer. I was very familiar with the band and had many a conversation with lead vocalist Ted Heath. They were regulars on the Hollywood club circuit, and were very close to getting a record deal when the metal scene imploded with the rise of grunge. Three decades after the songs were recorded, their album of vintage 80’s metal titled Waiting For The Night is finally available to the public. Listening to the album is like unearthing a time capsule of the music of that era, and one is struck at how the musicianship and production compare very favorably with the better known bands of that era. Is also shows how luck and timing were very much in play between bands that made it and bands that didn’t.
The first track is Fire Burnin’ In Me. Listening to the song the first impression is “Oh my God, why wasn’t this band playing arenas?” With soaring vocal harmonies, blazing guitar solos and supporting keyboards, anyone who loves hard rock in the style of Ronnie James Dio, Deep Purple or Iron Maiden will instantly be a Fortress fan. When Will The Fighting End has been made into a music video, and although the lyrics are over 30 years old they are surprisingly very relevant today. Changes In Your Mind showcases that Fortress wasn’t just another “hair metal” band, but rather a very talented group of musicians with strong songwriting, composing and performance skills.
It’s always easy to play the “what if” game with bands that should have/could have been huge. While it wasn’t in the cards for Fortress to have achieved major label recognition and the national and international spotlight, Waiting For The Night is finally getting the band a bit of very overdue recognition: The first 500 copies of the CD have completely sold out, with another pressing in the works.