Human Fortress hail from Hannover in Germany, and "Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir" (sic) is their debut album. According to the bio, as usual, this band is the best thing since sliced bread. The guitarists are "masters of every riff, lick, solo and rhythm imaginable", the band have managed to write "spellbinding compositions to make them stand out from the rest" and front man Jioti Parcharidis "possesses all the classical strengths". Let's see, shall we?

"The Dragons Lair", the opening track, sounds pretty convincing to begin with. However, after that all the tracks tend to fall into the same classification. It sounds neat, it sounds clever, but somehow it seems to lack conviction. There are a few memorable passages, such as the familiar sounding chorus to "Divine Astronomy" and the whole of "Stroke of Fate". The final part of the title track is also interesting with a folky, mediaeval-sounding section. There's a gonad-shriveling ballad, obviously ("Forgive & Forget"), and a track called "Amberdawn" that I wonder about whether it's about Yngwie's ex-wife?

In general, Human Fortress succeed in writing mature AOR songs with plenty of melody and an OK vocalist. There is good guitar work to be found on almost all tracks, however I am not as convinced as the writer of the band bio that their music has the balls, nor the memorability edge, to make it.



Written November 2001


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