Album review: HUMAN FORTRESS – Thieves Of The Night

HUMAN FORTRESS – Thieves Of The Night

AFM Records [Release date 18.03.16]

“Thieves of the Night” is German melodic metal band Human Fortress’s follow up to the well-received “Raided Land”. The band deal in a genre populated by bands such as Kamelot, Avantasia and Virgin Steele according to the press release.

Formed back in the late 1990’s in Hanover, Torsten Wolf, Volker Trost (both guitars) and drummer Apostolos Zaios remain from the their debut release “Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir” back in 2001. Several line-up changes later…plus an ill-advised venture into pure power metal with traces of metalcore for 2008’s “Eternal Empire”…the band returned with new vocalist Gus Monsanto for 2013’s “Raided Land”. The current line-up is completed by bassist Andre Hort and Dirk Liehm on keyboards.

Amberstow kicks off the proceedings with a medieval-like introduction of harpsichord and violin before launching into an early Kamelot-like number. Enjoyable but lacking a bit of class.

The same has to be said for most tracks…Last Prayer to the Lord, Rise or Fall, Thrice Blessed etc…all solid enough but the magical spark is missing.

The final third shows an improvement starting with Smite on the Anvil which is much more atmospheric and could easily be featured in Game of Thrones but disappointedly it is only a short instrumental piece leading into Dungeons of Doom.

Gift of Prophecy starts with an acoustic introduction and then builds nicely…quite catchy chorus on this one. Alone brings things to a close with an impressive orchestral power ballad.

Not bad but lacking that special bit of something to rise above other bands peddling this style of music.  ***

Review by Phil Berisford

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