“We wanted to continue with the style of music that Human Fortress was known for after the first two albums Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir and Defenders of the Crown,” states guitarist Torsten Wolf regarding their approach to Raided Land. It has been around five years since their last album and there’s evidently a lot of water under the bridge. Welcome to their fold a new lead vocalist in the shape of Brazilian lung-buster Gus Monsanto. Has this had some sort of detrimental impact on their ability to rock the masses? On the basis of Raided Land, you’ll be thinking that they sound better than ever.
The first four tracks kick the proverbial mixing power, melody and various textures to what are truly hook-laden and easily accessible nuggets of gold. It’s a positive opening to an album that has brushed off any sensitivity towards superstition by including 13 titles and ignoring the potential to curse their labor of love.
The new vocalist sounds like a hybrid of Ronnie James Dio and Claus Lessmann from Bonfire as he tackles each and every syllable with gusto. Apart from Prelude which is just what it stipulates, the remaining 12 tracks set a high benchmark. For those of you that are familiar with their second studio opus Defenders of the Crown, there is a sequel to the song Gladiator of Rome which flies skywards during the chorus and is pummeling during the verses.
Other highlights include the sombre and gentle openings to Evil Curse and Restless Souls which both launch into crunching guitars and the rocking display showcased elsewhere on Raided Land. It is ultimately a heavy metal album presented in a European way and incorporates different textures throughout. It isn’t necessarily an album that will hit you instantly, as some songs like Dark Knight and Shelter take a few listens before they fully appeal. Set those devil horns to stun!
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