Sound — 9
Fortress is a monster of an album and it'll keep you hooked for a long time. The band's sound hasn't really changed too much other than this CD being a little more heavier than Kezia. If you are getting in to Protest, listen to Kezia first. The guitar work in this album is a step up from their debut. But it doesn't get to the point where it sounds like they're trying too hard. Maybe some parts are a little overdone, but it doesnt't distract the listener from the rest of the album. One thing I noticed is the amount of tapping and sweeping in this album. The tapping parts are pretty good, but in my opinion, the sweeping arpeggios get a little tiring after a while. Rody Walker (lead singer) has said that this album will be less poppy. Which is kind of true, but it's still catchier than ever. I think the vocals are an improvement from Kezia.
Lyrics — 10
Bassists Arif Miradolbaghi is the lyricist for the band, and he is the best I've seen in a long time. The lyrics have to deal with Genghis Khan and Irish mythology according to him. He uses a lot of metaphors such as in The Dissentience which is one big metaphor for, as the band puts it, "f--king bitches and drinking booze". Some parts of songs are simple which is refreshing after spending hours trying to decipher lyrics. Rody tried to make Fortress less poppy than Kezia, but it's still very catchy. Rody still has his range and he tries out different things on Fortress. For instance, all the growls placed in the album are Rody's (except for a growl in Wretch from Arif) and the 11 second scream at the end is Rody. Yet, with all this screaming (there is A LOT more compared to Kezia) he still manages to sing very beautifully and even brings in the falsettos ala Wretch.
Overall Impression — 9
Even though it released so early in the year, I think this will be album of the year. It will be very hard to top at least. I love everything about this album, but one part that kind of annoyed me is the sweeping. It sounds great most of the time, but other times it gets kind of annoying. Another thing that really disappointed me was the lack of acoustic parts and female singers (besides Rody, hehe). But at least bring the acoustic sections, that's one of the things that makes Kezia awesome. Another thing that would have made this album better would've been the connection of Goddess Bound and Goddess Gagged. I mean come on, with names like that, you almost have to make them interconnected. The best tracks on this album would have to be all of them. The one I like the least is Probably Goddess Bound, which is still an amazing song. Overall, it's a freaking great album, you're missing out by not picking it up.