Reviews roundup – Human Fortress vs. Karma To Burn vs. Blessed Hellride

81yedx3kz3l-_sl1500_HUMAN FORTRESS
Thieves Of The Night
AFM

Time for some melodic power metal.  And I’m sure you will be hugely surprised to learn that Human Fortess are from Germany.  Yes, really.  Now I like melodic power metal but even I have to admit that an awful lot of it is starting to sound the same.

Human Fortess fell into that category, as their first three albums made no impact on my consciousness.  So when they reconvened after a five year break for “Raided Land”, I paid no attention.  Which was a mistake, if “Thieves Of The Night” is anything to go by.  Now I’m not going to lie and claim this is great.  It’s not, but it is very good as the self proclaimed epic battle metal outfit hit all the marks required of the genre.

It helps that Brazilian vocalist Gus Monsanto (Timo Tolkki’s Revolution Renaissance, Adagio) is still hitting all the notes as the band crash through some cracking riffs with the likes of ‘Last Prayer To The Lord’ and ‘Hellrider’ full of pure metal joy.  Keep an eye out for them on the Euro festival circuit and give them a second chance.

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81lnwiptrnl-_sl1500_KARMA TO BURN
Mountain Czar
Rodeostar / SPV

Again, I kind of lost touch with Karma To Burn after they returned from hiatus, as my stoner rock days are long gone, but as a fan of the late lamented EP, I was more than happy to catch up with this five track offering.  And it was worth it.

I know that instrumental metal isn’t everyones thing, but when the riffs are as good on the opening salvo of ‘Sixty Two’ and, um ‘Sixty One’, then you forget the lack of vocals pretty quickly.  Add in some great guitar solos, and Karma To Burn show why they used to be one of The stoner rock bands.

They even throw in a vocal track to catch you out, on ‘Uccidendo Un Sogno’, whic is actually a cover version of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ ‘Runnin Down A Dream’, featuring Italian vocalist Stefanie Savy.  And it’s really good.  They’re heading out on a UK tour, starting tomorrow, so get yourself along.

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814jhhtzphl-_sl1429_BLESSED HELLRIDE
Bastards & Outlaws
Rodeostar / SPV

Well, if you’re going to name yourself after a Zakk Wylde / Black Label Society album, then you’d better have the chops.  Because you do not want to piss off his devoted chapters.

But this German band have no fears, because this is exactly what you would expect a band named after a Black Label Society album to sound like.  Namely, Black Label Society.  Hurrah!  Thirteen good to great slabs of greasy biker rock, with the guitars of Jack Stoned and Oos (yes, really) turned up to stun.  And with a great rhythm section of El Fritto on bass and Captain on drums, they sound great.

I assume that they, and vocalist Tiny Fuel, are operating under false names, but with songs like ‘Moonshine Saloon’ and ‘Helldorado’ ripping your balls off, they’ve really no need to hide away.  BLS fans should put their prejudices aside and let the southern swagger of ‘Papa Joe’ and the title track into their lives.

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