Greek Power / Progsters Fortress Under Siege have finally released their second long awaited album on Metal Mad Music. For those who are not aware by the band I got to point that they are now back in action after 15 years of silence. There same title Mini CD release back in 1996 is for sure a magnificent piece of Power / Progressive art and I can assure you that in their next release they are following those very same steps. Fotis Sotiropoulos - Guitars, Michael Smeros - Vocals, Georgios Georgiou - Keyboards, Vaggelis Hatziandreou - Bass, John Dimoulas – Drums is the current line up of the band, the album is entitled "The Mortal Flesh Of Love" and what follows is a track by track review of it.
“Deeds Of All Disgrace” has been wisely selected as the opening track of this full length. Its melodic and emotional interlude would remind to those that already aware of FUS that melody and emotion was always their bigger trademarks, so I guess that things are going on from where they have stopped. As the track goes on the listener would come across to inspired, complex still very memorable Power / Prog Steel at its best. In melancholic -nostalgic someone would say- mood the track overtakes the listener into a very special journey. Take a more careful listen and discover the hidden melodies almost everywhere, focus into the keyboards that provide a special touch in here, repeat the listening to let the beautiful guitar themes and melodies flow into your mind once more. Mr Smeros voice seem to be into great form and someone can realize it form the very first parts of the song. Excellent vocal melodies, passion and great performance. For sure this is one of the most outstanding tracks of the album.
Based mainly in Power Metal forms -the European way- and a solid main riff the next "Last Temptation" track would soon turned into a fine, mysterious Prog Metal tune. I really enjoyed the bridges based on the beautiful keyboard leads and the mysterious vocal melodies. It is wonderful how the piano melodies -that are also a strong feature of the song- are mixed with the solid riffing. The fast breakings will keep the listening interest in high levels and those exotic, eastern melodies and themes are on the end of the day the real strong part of the tune.
"Holly Communion" comes next is a real beautiful piece of FUS music, it mainly works as an interlude to the follower "My Foulest Sin" track. Here the band re presents its more Power Metal side offering a heavier and even faster track base din killer guitar riffs, hammering drums and the great vox of Mr Smernos. This is the heavier tune of the three included in the full length. Well it is more than a big surprise to realize that a band able to compose melodic Prog stuff can also bring to the front some high class Power Metal as well. Well this band is called Fortress Under Siege.
The next "Gods Of War" track is also in fast tempos, I guess that part of this song is one more expression of the band's love to good Power Metal riffs. -just listen the opening riff and the riff of the first vocal part and you would get my point-. Listening more carefully you soon realize the transformation of the song, rhythm changes, even more lead parts and so on... Well I got to point that the two big trademarks of the song are the great symphonic touches and the magnificent guitar themes. Keyboards are used in in a very wise way in all the three songs, emphasizing and filling with melody but in this very specific track they can for sure pointed a one of the best feature together with guitar leads that especially in the second half of the song they are offering a mysterious and almost exotic touch in the song -I guess that FUS love the strange, beautiful and exotic melodies-. Listen the lead part before the final chorus in the second part and you would understand my point – yes the point was about the complex still wise rhythm part that transforms the whole song.
"Night Caress" follows. Beautiful, romantic, piece of Progressive music marked by sweet guitar themes and -for one more time- those great vocal melodies. The piano would sweetly fill parts of the song once again. Just close your eyes and enjoy the song. What follows is the song that gives its name to the album as well: "The Mortal Flesh Of Love". All the features that made FUS such a wonderful band are expanded in this tune. Once again you would able to hear some magnificent keyboard melodies, the guitars both in the melodic interlude, the main -solid as usual- riffing and of course into the lead parts, are simply fantastic. Please add the storm taking Power Metal breaking and probably the most memorable chorus of the whole album and you would have the musical picture of this song. But it is more you can hear yes yes, much much more, this melodic bridge in the middle of the song (on the 5:03 part) and the full of agony breaking that follows would sure make go and listen this part again and again. A beautiful dark piano melody would soon fill the ear before the next part of the song, what you will listen just right after this piano part is another powerful musical bridge, that will be followed by a little melodic crescendo which is filled with epic melodies, well all these combined together in a wise musical way, soon he song would soon return to this great chorus before its final epilogue.
The intro lead guitar theme of "Alexander" is introducing the listener to another bombastic Power / Prog tune. The song is mainly marked by the lead themes both in guitar and keys and by the exotic melodies that are once again used in this song. The polyphonic vocal parts will make it sound even more epic and here I got to point that such parts are used in many songs of the album for emphatic reasons. "Blind Faith" comes next one of the most "catchy" songs of the album that have been chosen as the first video for the album. Thanks to its melodic main part, and to the chorus that would -once again- stick into your mind and to the good balance between Power Metal and Prog Metal elements this is an ideal track to introduce someone to the band's music. Did I tell you that I love the keyboard lead in this one? Mentioning keyboards I must also point that the epilogue of the album called "Faithless" is totally based in keyboards beeing a nice instrumental little piece of music closing the album in a ideal way.
The production is good and clear doing justice to each and every tune of the album. You can add as a good plus the artwork of the album and if you take as a sure fact that the music in here is magnificent you got a great package offered to you with heart and soul by a talented band that have return back in action. FUS have done their part well now it is turn for each and every fun of good Metal music to support this band by buying -and not downloading- the album, going to the band's show and showing all the possible support, the band and the album deserves it. Mentioning the live shows I am really curious to catch the band of stage to see by myself how the hell they manage to re present all the special atmosphere of this record on stage.
I have already put the album into a very high slot on my list of the best albums for the year 2011, it is seriously a magnificent example of Power / Prog Metal full of inspiration and passion. Listen to the record and find by yourselves if I am right or wrong to my point, but I am sure you will enjoy the album as well.
Album will be out on 1/7/2011 you can pre order it here.