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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: Human Fortress - Thieves Of The Night

I got to know Human Fortress in the early 2000’s when power metal was in its peak of popularity back in Brazil. For what I can remember, I really liked their debut album, Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir (2001), and this is why I chose to review their new work. And for my absolute surprise I discovered that my fellow countryman, Gus Monsanto (ex- Timo Tolkki's Revolution Renaissance, ex -Adagio), is the band’s new singer since Raided Land (2013). So, let’s quit talking about the past and let me tell what to expect of Thieves of the Night (2016).

Amberstow starts the album with a very catchy chorus and from the very first moment it is crystal clear how good Gus Monsanto is. He is undoubtedly the biggest highlight of the entire album. The song got me excited about what would be coming next, but it was also a bit plain and generic enough to make me worried. Nevertheless all of my doubts were gone with Last Prayer to the Lord, probably my favorite song of the album. The huskiness of Monsanto’s voice is excellent during the verses and awesome when he reaches a higher register in the chorus. Rise or Fall is quite like the first track, a good song by itself, but you constantly get the impression of “I heard this before”. The title track, Thieves of the Night, is another excellent song. The riffs, solos, the beat, everything is just classic Power Metal from the good old times. Thrice Blessed is a mid-paced song with a more modern approach, similar to what Kamelot has be doing but without the dark and melancholic atmosphere. I really liked this one.

“…Take me away to my better self
Welcome to the real world
Our shelter from reality
Thrice blessed”

Call me crazy for saying this but Hellrider is a hair metal song. OK, the chorus is not, but when Monsanto starts singing the verses I can only imagine Bon Jovi in the 80’s. Just A Graze returns to the Power Metal the band is known for, and keeps the overall quality of the album going. This four-song sequence is really awesome. But then we get to Vicious Circle, the less remarkable track here, in my humble opinion. I could hardly remember it as soon as it was finished. Smite On The Anvil is the instrumental song that leads to the second mid-paced song of the album, Dungeons of Doom. Although not so good as Thrice Blessed, it recovers well the feeling of “this is great”. Gift of Prophecy is just better than Vicious Circle, but the power ballad Alone closes the album beautifully.

It was nice to find out that, after all these years, a band that I liked in the past but lost contact with is still doing good music. I know I may have been harsher in some parts of this review than what the band deserved, but the truth is, I usually don’t like 9 out of 10 power metal releases that I listen to nowadays, and I really liked this one. So, in the end, it was a pretty positive review.

Thieves of the Night is far from perfect, but it is a very solid effort with some amazing moments like Last Prayer to the Lord, Thrice Blessed, the title track, and Hellrider.

Written by Anderson Tiago


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