FORTRESS is a new band from California and Don’t Spare the Wicked is their first album after an EP in 2018. They have a very beautiful heavy/power metal style, in the sense of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and his Marching Out era. So, we are talking about an album that could be described as a gift to the fans of the 80’s heavy metal sound.
The album does everything right. It has very catchy melodies, good power metal-like vocals, great riffs and solos, distinctive keys that become more intense when it is necessary for the song, and generally a feeling that you listen to a band whose sound comes out naturally. This means that they avoid the “now we are going to play old-school heavy metal” tactic, like many new bands do, something that makes their efforts look fake, but on the contrary, they present a very down-to-earth heavy metal record whose melodies stick to the mind from the first time you listen to the tracks.
The album’s opener “Lost Forever” is an amazing neo-classical heavy metal song with a very beautiful epic-dramatic rhythm that the fans will love. Similar in feeling is the track “Children of the Night”, with an even more epic sound and keyboards. It is a very beautiful song. Another track that stands out is “Anguish”, an epic-heavy song, whose melodies remind of Malmsteen’s “Anguish and Fear”. Further, “Find Yourself” is a classic heavy metal song (with IRON MAIDEN references), while “Red Light Runner” is the speedy song of the album.
FORTRESS have made a very good, almost impressive, entrance in the heavy metal scene, and the fans of this sound should check this release. The majority of the songs is A-level class, and the album seems to have something for everyone – from those who like melodic and mid-tempo tracks, to those who prefer classic heavy and speedy songs. In any case, someone who has spent many hours in listening Yngwie Malmsteen’s RISING FORCE, LEATHERWOLF’s second album, FIFTH ANGEL, and the entire 80’s US heavy/power scene will find in FORTRESS a very similar feeling and quality.