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Dark Fortress are one of the more accessible black metal bands I've heard, and comfortingly one that still possesses artistic integrity despite the concessions to a (slightly) more mainstream audience (but, like, not really). The emphasis is on melodic guitars and a casual tempo rather than the deliberately discordant and ferocious riffing that characterises much black metal (as much as I love that too), and if the album has one primary failing, it's that it all sounds a little too polished and mechanical, though not to the extent of the more recent albums of Dimmu Borgir or Emperor.
The guitar melodies are a strong driving force throughout, as much as they will infuriate black metal purists, and are reminiscent of Dissection. Azathoth's screams are easily legible, and Paymon's keyboards are used for atmosphere rather than obliterating the mood of songs through tedious over-use, the notable example being the compulsory piano interlude 'Vanitas... No Horizons.' I'd still recommend the works of Dissection to anyone looking to approach black metal without being too terrified, but Dark Fortress is a much more accurate halfway point than Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth, who now resemble the traditional black metal sound only tangentially.
1. Iconoclasm Omega
2. Self Mutilation
3. Stab Wounds
4. When 1000 Crypts Awake
5. Despise the "Living"
6. A Midnight Poem
7. Rest in Oblivion
8. Vanitas... No Horizons
9. Like a Somnambulist in Daylight's Fire