Dark Fortress - Venereal Dawn
1 September 2014

01. Venereal Dawn
02. Lloigor
03. Betrayal And Vengeance
04. Chrysalis
05. I Am The Jigsaw Of A Mad God
06. The Deep
07. Odem
08. Luciform
09. On Fever's Wings
10. The Deep [acoustic version] [bonus]

Tasteful evolution. If there ever was a phrase to describe Dark Fortress, that, right there, is it. They're never ones to reinvent the wheel, but why should they? They've crafted their own sound without any extravagant gimmicks, they don't take risks, but they also never really misstep. With each album, Dark Fortress just defines their sound a little more. Venereal Dawn is another solid step forward in the logical progression of their history.

Dark Fortress albums are typically long affairs, and Venereal Dawn is no different. This is a real whopper of an album when it comes to scope, which progresses and unfolds at such a beautiful pace, it's quite difficult imagining how they'd fit this all in in under its seventy minutes.

First, we take the core of what Dark Fortress is; a melodic black metal act, with tasteful balancing between hyper-aggressive black metal and mellow, ambient passages. Throw in some subtle, haunting keyboards underneath the mix, and you've got the raw product. Then the fun begins...

Each track is taken with a different approach, sometimes subtle, sometimes a drastic side-step. Regardless, it all flows together perfectly. The cohesiveness of the album is very deliberate, it's not a collection of songs, it's rather a bunch of smaller pieces to a bigger story. "Lloigor" is the sound of Opeth's Blackwater Park meets Keep Of Kalessin's Kolossus. From the latter half of "I Am The Jigsaw Of A Mad God" until the end of the album, it begins to pick up a Rotting Christ Aealo approach - a lot of chugging, chanting, stomping rhythmic segments with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean overtones. In between all that you've got epic black metal all the way down to bleak minimalist segments with whiffs of blackened shoegaze wafting by. "On Fever's Wings" is the ultimate closing track for this grand adventure of an album. It's like that closing number in musicals where the entire cast of characters comes out to close the show; in this eleven minutes, you'll find Venereal Dawn encapsulated in its entirety.

…But you've already come to expect all this from Dark Fortress. Duh. The gradual incline in detail, depth and quality from Séance to Eidolon to Ylem should have been a dead giveaway where this was heading. The only tangibly new piece to the Dark Fortress arsenal is just how proggy this album is. There's several passages that are sure to strike you as distinctly Opethian...Well, more like Opeth on peyote, but I digress.

Dark Fortress have been kicking around for some time now, gaining popularity but hardly being at the forefront in many people's minds. If this doesn't bring them Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth or Keep Of Kalessin levels of popularity in the uber-digestible black metal field, surely there's no hope...And you should all feel like terrible people for not telling enough friends about it.

Band profile: Dark Fortress
Album: Venereal Dawn


Written on 22.08.2014 by
Doc Godin
Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.
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Troy Killjoy - 22.08.2014 at 08:11  
Awesome, it sounds like this turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for back when they first released a stream of some of their new songs.
R'Vannith - 22.08.2014 at 09:03  
Nice review, sounds like this one will easily break any concerns of standard black metal boredom. I'll be listening out for it.
Fallen Ghost - 22.08.2014 at 12:44  
Well written! You made this sound interesting, will check it out!
roeder - 22.08.2014 at 13:37  
I was considering giving this band a chance for some time now. This review convinced me to do it.
Ilham - 22.08.2014 at 14:33  
I really wasn't convinced by the two songs they released separately. I've always liked their "only concept albums" approach, so I'll discard what I thought of the two songs and give it a listen anyway.
Dangerboner - 22.08.2014 at 14:53  
Venereal Dawn sounds like that one morning I woke up sore in a downtown back alley behind a gas station during Gay Pride weekend.

Shit, I just realized that's my second consecutive gay buttsecks joke today. I suppose I have been fucked at work tonight, but in a different way.
bleak - 22.08.2014 at 17:31  
Nice review. Been expecting this one for a few months now... V. Santura always delivers.
Doc Godin - 22.08.2014 at 22:19  
Written by Dangerboner on 22.08.2014 at 14:53

Venereal Dawn sounds like that one morning I woke up sore in a downtown back alley behind a gas station during Gay Pride weekend.

Shit, I just realized that's my second consecutive gay buttsecks joke today. I suppose I have been fucked at work tonight, but in a different way.

I knew it was only a matter of time...
Daniell - 22.08.2014 at 23:20  
Can't wait to hear the whole album. The title track is excellent.
DerRozzengarten - 23.08.2014 at 22:36  
Wonderful review, just like the band, definitely looking forward to Venereal Dawn, it's been some time since Ylem.
bugsterscrow - 05.09.2014 at 00:29  
By the way, very good artwork cover
Daniell - 06.09.2014 at 22:12  
Mature, intricate, engaging, accomplished. A strong contender for black metal album of the year.
s_t_s - 28.09.2014 at 17:20  
A very good album but I won't rate it yet as I seem to need more time to really get into it while Ylem was an instant coup de coeur ! I already love Fever's Wing tho

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