Dark Fortress - Stab Wounds
Blakk Attakk
Mainstream Black Metal
11 songs (69:22)
Release year: 2004
Dark Fortress, Blakk Attakk
Reviewed by Misha

Before starting on this new release, I’ll briefly explain the earlier releases of Dark Fortress. After a split with Barad Dür, the first full length released by the band was Tales From Eternal Dusk. However many preach the opposite, I feel this was one highly original and refreshing piece of groovy, fastpaced and forcefully thrashing black metal. If something deserves the status of battle metal than this would be it! Killing riffs and dual lead skills with victorious black soloing made the fifty minute plus masterpiece one of my favorite debuts. The Germans really knew how to capture the feeling of battle into music, and none of its aspects was forgotten. A very clear yet noncommercial production gave the album a very strait forward and no-bullshit feeling that I greatly respect. This album was like the black metal equivalent of old Amon Amarth, and is simply amazing from start to end, a must have for every self-respecting metalhead.

The second full length, Profane Genocidal Creation was very, very different, but equally stunning. Dark Fortress instantly switched to melodic black metal. The production slinked to a raw and buzzing level, and loads of keyboards were added. The length of the songs increased to profane levels, having the total album clock almost seventy minutes. While the record might remind of old Satyricon, this is highly original music, with some of the most magical feelings around. Luckily, the keyboards didn’t kill the amazing guitarsound of the debut. There are still great riffs around and the guitar melodies and dual lead attacks might be even more convincing. All songs have a unique identity although they all match in style. However long they might be, they are always dynamically changing and never tend to get boring. Heaps of acoustic parts enriched the album with an intense melancholic aura that could only be surpassed by the sound of the fast and emotional guitar soloing. Fragile Gothic vocals that are incredibly fitting at times result in an even more magical sentiment. This, a true beauty, still remains one of my all time favorite records.

Then we have Stab Wounds. No time wasted on an intro this time, just some swift words by Azathoth’s sinister and weird voice. The first song opens blasting and with a production that is not only very good, but very commercial too. I’m still wondering how the beautiful melodic black metal could transcend into mediocre norsecore/mainstream so fast. Stab Wounds is roughly described as a not so successful mix between the two previous full lengths of the artists, which sounds slightly Dimmu Borgir-ish. The result is not bad, but not good either. There are still some flairs present of the old glory like on Like A Somnambulist In Daylight's Fire. The thrash riffs of the early days are still present, but not as convincing as before, and most of the gloominess of the Profane Genocidal Creations days is replaced by the modern sound of commercialism. It’s not a completely uninteresting album and the majority of the riffs used is quite good, but it doesn’t live up to the early works. See it as equivalent to what Satyricon did on Volcano. Whenever you’d expect a malevolent and blistering solo to kick in, you just get another riff, and dual leading doesn’t appear as much as wished for. Most of the chilling atmosphere is lost in the production, and the beautiful acoustic parts as on older sings like In Morte Aeternitas are sadly traded in. Most of the songs try to get a sad feeling across, but only Like A Somnambulist In Daylight's Fire seems to succeed. This song has shows guest appearance of the solitary Italian Herr Morbid of Forgotten Tomb’s fame as well. The vocals remained the same as on previous albums, however more clear singing or talking is used than before (not counting the gothic vocals on the previous album). The lyrics however sometimes don’t fit in as well as they did earlier, so the vocals do not appear as slaying as before either.

Overall it is definitely not a bad record, and it surely can be enjoying some times, but it just doesn’t live up to the high standard set. Still, I’ll be looking for future releases, to see if anything changes. Meanwhile, I’ll just stick with the two earlier albums, which both certainly are on my rare 85 and 90 scale.

Killing Songs :
Like A Somnambulist In Daylight's Fire.
Misha quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by Dark Fortress that we have reviewed:
Dark Fortress - Ylem reviewed by Kyle and quoted 91 / 100
Dark Fortress - Profane Genocidal Creations reviewed by Jay and quoted 47 / 100
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