Human Fortress - Raided Land
AFM Records
Melodic Power Metal
13 songs (54 minutes)
Release year: 0
Human Fortress, AFM Records
Reviewed by Joel

While Hanover, Germany based, Human Fortress are not a household name in the land of melodic heavy metal, they have been around since 2001, with Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir. The widely considered high-watermark for the band was 2003's Defenders of the Crown. A solid mix of melodic power metal, that at the time, would have been compared to a bigger German Power Metal band, Edguy. With the solid vocals, of then vocalist Jioti Parcharidis the album easily eclipsed their debut. 2008's Eternal Empire, was a change of direction and style for the band as well as a new vocalist. Gone was the straight ahead melodic Power Metal, in favor of a modern feel. Harsher vocals, and a much heavier band, Eternal Empire was a decent album but was marred by inconsistencies that could be heard throughout the disc. While not my favorite, I do believe it deserves to stand on its own. Its not the first time a band had abandoned its “Signature” style in favor or trying something new. Flash forward to 2013, a new label(AFM Records), ex-Adagio/Revolution Renaissance's Gus Mosanto on vocals, and a sound that akins to Defenders of the Crown. This is definitely NOT Defenders part 2, but everything that was Eternal Empire is now gone.

So the title track starts the disc with keyboards followed by the drums before a first pumping verse and a huge melodic power metal chorus. Child of War is next, another melodic metal song with strong vocals from Mosanto. This songs riffing borders on more melodic hard rock, but the tempo makes it more metal. Wasted Years is the first single they released from Raided Land and you can find it on Youtube or their Facebook page. I do believe its one of the strongest songs on the disc. It highlights why the band chose Mosanto's vocals. Solid guitar work from can be heard through the next two songs, The Chosen One and Shelter. The songs feature a solid mix of speed and melody, especially the chorus in the latter song. Going back in time to the aforementioned Defenders of the Crown, we get Gladiator of Rome(Part2), and its a worthy successor. A lot like Symphony X did with their The Accolade Part 1 and 2, Human Fortress builds upon the original and making it a worthy successor. I definitely favor Mosanto's vocals on this song, over the original. His clarity and ability to change his range, on a measures notice makes this song even stronger. The solo features a very melodic guitar solo, that builds upon the verse melody, while in the latter half leads right back into the chorus.

At five minutes, Dark Knight(No not Batman!) is one of the heavier songs on the disc. Mosanto uses a more aggressive vocal approach on this song, that matches the heavier groove you can hear in the music. At this point halfway through the disc, my only complaint is that the only instrument I can't hear is the bassist. While not uncommon in this style of music, it would be nice to hear the missing man( this case new bassist Andre Hort) once in awhile. Prelude is a folky short instrumental, that segues into Pray for Salvation. More melodic vocals from Mosanto, this song would be the “Ballad” on this disc. The song does feature a chorus with heavier guitars and drums, that adds a different dynamic from the verse. By no means is this the most original ballad ever, it does follow a true-and-tried formula, but its well written, and has one hell of a guitar solo. Evil Curse has the similar heavier groove you hear in Dark Knight, with piano fills thrown in throughout the song. This extra layer makes the verses stand out. Pizzicato strings and piano can be heard as Restless Souls begins, it builds up the mood before the song opens up into a solid melodic rocker. Under Siege and Guard the Blind finish off the cd, offering a little bit of what you have heard in the earlier songs, but without repeating what they have done before. Just listen to the opening guitar riff of Under Siege.

Being a long time fan of the band, I was very excited and shocked to see this disc coming out. If the band is looking to reclaim what they had on Defenders, I do believe they outdid themselves. I honestly feel this a new beginning, with a very talented and dynamic singer who hopefully found a permanent home in the band. This was ten years in the making, and for those who never heard of the band and you love Melodic Power Metal or Rock, GET THIS! You will not regret it.

Human Fortress is, Gus Monsanto(Vocals), Torsten Wolf and Volker Trost(Guitars), Dirk Liehm(Keyboards), Andre Hort(Bass), and Apostolos Zaios(Drums)

Killing Songs :
ALL! but Prelude(but I included this song as part as Pray for Salvation)
Joel quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Human Fortress that we have reviewed:
Human Fortress - Defenders Of The Crown reviewed by Chris and quoted 95 / 100
Human Fortress - Lord Of Earth And Heavens Heir reviewed by Chris and quoted 91 / 100
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