» Cd reviews  
« back

Dark Fortress - Venereal Dawn

Published September 19 2014

=Staff's pick

Venereal Dawn*
Betrayal And Vengeance
I Am The Jigsaw Of A Mad God
The Deep
On Fever's Wings*

Genre Black Metal
Tracks 9
V. Santura
Running time 68 Min.
Label Century Media
Release 01 September 2014
Country Germany
Producer -
Similar artists Ihsahn, Primordial, Opeth

Imagine gazing at the sky, and knowing that every single sliver of light is a defilement of the Earth. To see the ethereal grips of the feverish fists of the sun rip and tore nature apart. As the rays of blight pervert the landscape beyond recognition, you realize the only escape for you is the living blood of the dying humanity, which of course is finite. The lyrical setting of a cursed sun fascinates me and strengthens the unsettling feeling throughout the album.

This record provokes a sensation and experience within the listener, which resembles a journey similar to how a good book or movie can move the imagination of the interpreter. Morean has been inspired by the novel "The Wounded Land" by Stephen R. Donaldson. Supposedly the accursed light beams and the blood as a remedy are the only similarities.

Dark Fortress blurs the lines between several metal genres. Although cold, eerie and sinister emotions flow through everything, I wouldn't be completely satisfied by the simple definition black metal. There are many progressive parts, similar to Ihsahn and Leprous. The melodic composition is comparable to Dissection, and there are particular riffs that are extremely heavy and full of despair as in the band Triptykon. I noticed that they share a guitarist, which explains a bit. To put it short, Dark Fortress plays complex and interesting black metal.

Maybe a dismemberment and examination of the tracks would be appropriate? "Venereal Dawn" is both the beginning and the summary of the album, in my opinion. The setting is laid down and makes the listener eager to hear the following events unfold. Musically, it is a summary of what make them so special. Harmonious and dissonant. Sublime and brutal. The end of the song gives me a lot of different associations. The simple wicked melody reminds me of the vampiric texture from Castlevania, and the darkest emotions of Black Sabbath. When the chanting begins my ears hear Ghost. When "Lloigor" proceeds with its acoustic guitars and distant melody I relate to Diablo's game music and a bit to earlier mentioned Ihsahn. The line "a thousand young drip from the sky to feed" tell us that the sun has been seriously corrupted. Personally it makes me intrigued.

Through "Betrayal and Vengeance" the question is awoken: would you kill your next to live just another day? The dynamics of "Chrysalis" is incredible, with furious palm muted strings behind melancholic melodies. Overall it's tranquil, yet painful. In "I Am The Jigsaw Of A Mad God" the pace and intensity increases with blast beats, grunts and dissonant chords.

"The Deep" serves as a lament and dark insight, and represent the acceptance of humanity's fall rather than being perverted and twisted into something wicked. I'm a sucker for acoustic guitar parts, so this song is dear to me. The song also serves as an intro to "Odem" which shows how the undoing of human kind enables the formation of what in a way is a deformation: "Luciform". The released particles of light emerge from within the flesh. The innermost void of existence is exposed. Somehow, as we get described in "On Fever's Wings", another entity is formed. To me, this is the best song of the album, and arguably even in this genre for some time. It's so good that I think it could convert the unbelievers…

Well, sometimes it just get so god damn pretentious, but that is black metal in a nut shell. Another way to put it is assorted deep philosophical thoughts inside the darkest misanthropic corners of the mind. At times it gets too exaggerated, but occasionally as in the case of Dark Fortress, I'm enthralled. As a whole the album is well composed and the lyrics are eloquent, expressive and fairly intelligent. The use of several other languages than English, such as Arabic, Spanish and Latin adds flavour and a sense of completeness.

This masterpiece can't get anything less than a very high score. I have listened to it almost daily since the release; well even before it was released as a matter of fact. Numerous of the haunting melodies pull me back over and over again, and the seeds of the god of fever seep into the cavities of my psyche…

Blacken the cursed sun!








9 chalices of 10 - Sofus

Related links: