“I AM THUNDERRRR!!” These are the words sung loudly by Gus Monsanto that kick off the new HUMAN FORTRESS album, Reign of Gold. These are also the lyrics to the hook of opener “Thunder,” now one of my favorites in the band’s catalog. When you start a record this way you’ve certainly got my undivided attention. And the title track just keeps the momentum going, taking the ball and running with it. I have been a huge fan of these guys since I first got into them with 2013’s Raided Land. And now, two albums later they still deliver my type of Power Metal. No nonsense, no dragons, no dragons, no dragons. Kinda like Sal’s Famous Pizzeria: no rap, no music, no music, no music (R.I.P. Danny Aiello).
Things take an interesting turn for “Lucifer’s Waltz”, and it’s exactly what you think it is, a waltz, tempo-wise. I knew as soon as it started that keyboardist Dirk Liehm had a big hand in this one. I’ve gotten to know him very well over the past six years and I can tell when his fingerprints are all over a song. It’s also one of my favorites on the disc, which should surprise none of you. “Bullet of Betrayal” has a very medieval flair that underscores the chunky riffs of guitarists Volker Trost and Torsten Wolf, while bassist Andre Hort can be heard bringing the low end with a vengeance. Drummer Apostolos Zaios chugs away with a powerful double kick drum attack that when you crank loud you’ll feel in your chest.
One of the more anthemic songs with a big chorus is “Shining Light,” while “Surrender” marches forward on razorblade riffs and a snarling vocal from Monsanto, making this another favorite from jump. “The Blacksmith” is a galloping number that is also a winner in my book, and “Martial Valor” simply leaps off the page with its intensity. “Legion of the Damned” is a high-octane tune that kicks seven shades of ass from beginning to end. No surprise this one is a single. Closer “Victory” ends the record in fine majestic fashion, capping off a great ride.
Once again HUMAN FORTRESS releases an album and once again your Maestro loves it. Reign of Gold is out now on AFM Records, and it’s another excellent offering in the band’s discography, and it pains me that they aren’t touring the U.S. on a regular basis. Because I just know fans would eat these songs up in a live setting. Promoters need to wake the fuck up, get their heads out of their collective asses, and book this band for some dates here in America. Believe me when I tell you we want to see and hear them. Make it happen!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Surrender”, “The Blacksmith”, “Lucifer’s Waltz”, “Thunder”, “Martial Valor”