Triumph of the Undying reviews
eonblack on January 19th, 2018
Triumph of the Undying
Hard hitting back metallers from New Jersey are on a hot streak these days with two full-length albums and one EP in just two years. And the quality, especially on those full-lengths, is always growing.I think they have established their role as one of the strongest forces of black metal bands in our decade, especially with this 2017 recording. Anyway, for people that are not familiar with the band its kinda hard to explain what they sound like but I guess is somewhere between a traditional fast pace black metal, of say Immortal, and death metal influences in certain parts.
Triumph of the Undying. Well I had a problem with this album with the first listening. I thought yeah its pretty good and I could certainly enjoy it but maybe I thought it was a little flat or not so "unique" or provocative, in comparison to the bands standards. But as I kept listening it I always found "new" bits and parts standing out.
In its slightly over half an hour, duration the album will not for a moment let you even think of getting bored or distracted. From its "marching" start to abrupt end, a continuous stream of riffs and fierce drumming keeps the pace in a fast or slightly mid-tempo rhythm. What I found really interesting is the huge role that bass guitar and drums play as you can almost feel your insides moving when they are just going pedal to the metal. The guitar parts are what you would expect from Death Fortress, and frankly seventy percent of every black metal band ever. Straightforward basic riffs with some melodic passages, while being extremely distorted. My personal favourite thing about this LP is the vocal parts from the bands two singers as their voices are extremely different but they can make them sound very interesting in unison.
In general, the more I am listening to Triumph of the Undying the more I enjoy it what remains to be seen is how it will stand in time.
dystopia4 on June 24th, 2017
A lesser triump
Last year, Death Fortress's Deathless March of the Unyielding really took me by surprise. At first I was a bit on the fence, but it got better with each listen and ended up being a favourite for 2016. Upon hearing that they had a new album out already, I was a bit hesitant. Deathless March was great, but a mere year between records seems a little rushed. Unfortunately, it seems there were some validity to my fears. While by all means a respectable and above average black metal album, Triumph of the Undying just doesn't have the same magic as its predecessor. They still riff pretty hard, Shawn is still a motherfucking beast on the kit and if anything this is more aggressive than Deathless March. However, the songwriting isn't as memorable, the production is a bit spotty and I miss the melodic touches.
First, let's delve into what Triumph of the Undying gets right. Death Fortress is quite aggressive, and this is at the forefront here. Triumph leans on the faster and busier side of black metal, and largely stays in this groove. The riffs come at you like a horde of piss-drunk warriors and never really let up. The base of their sound is Immortal at their most aggressive. They give the riffs a new frantic energy while eschewing Immortal's atmospheric side. They don't really approach being a blackened death metal band or anything, but there's some serious bestial death metal heft being thrown around. While the tasteful melodicism of Deathless March has fallen by the wayside, it is briefly resurrected in the killer solo in “The Warrior's Mantle”. It's kind of a shame lead guitar doesn't scorch its way through more of these songs. As for the drumming, it's Shawn Eldridge so of course it's good. It might have been a bit better on the previous album, but he's still the fucking man. He's savage as fuck, but quite tasteful and works some killer cymbal patterns into the mix.
As for the drawbacks, the production is a biggie. It's not horrible or anything and in some ways fits the band's primal nature, it doesn't sound great either. The marching-off-to-war grandeur of the riffs could have definitely benefited from a fuller and more developed production job. While the riffs are pretty dope, they are quite samey and the lack of variety result in the songs kind of all blending together. Notice how the only time I referenced an individual song is because it's the only one with a solo? That's because all the songs pretty much sound the same. Deathless March didn't suffer from this affliction, and we can look to “Merciless Deluge” as a standout that went out on a new tangent – the song basically borders on melodeath but they totally make it work.
Death Fortress are still a good band, but I can't help feeling like Triumph of the Undying was a bit rushed. Their new Immortal gets whipped into a bestial rage sound is pretty killer, but they end up not doing as much with it as they could and the songs don't do enough to differentiate themselves from each other. At the end of the day, Triumph is a cool album when it's on but doesn't hit the same peaks of memorability as Deathless March.