Review: Hanging Fortress ‘Darkness Devours’

With the myriad of incredible music coming out this year, you’d be forgiven for struggling to keep up with it all, and if you’re struggling you might have missed out on this debut record from Toledo, Ohio bruisers Hanging Fortress titled Darkness Devours being released via the consistently awesome Redefining Darkness Records, for whom I have just reviewed the latest Carnal Ruin output. Releasing 6th November, its one for the fans of death metal and hardcore, so press play, lay down, take a deep breath and await the oncoming steam rolling.

Hanging Fortress 'Darkness Devours'

Let’s kick it off with the aesthetics and the first thing that introduced me to the record, the artwork which is a very old school looking courtesy of Anthony Orosz and Jimmy Smo. It reminds me of those monotone covers from bands like Winter, Paramaecium and Tragedies from Funeral. Funnily enough those three records are all from the doom genres and that’s not a coincidence as artwork matches the sound. It’s sluggish, it’s slow, it’s brooding and it’s really fucking heavy. Now I’m not saying this is a doom record, but it really takes some influence from that misery ridden side of the genre.

The other major influence to this death metal five piece is undoubtedly hardcore music, which you can hear across the record, from the muted tones on the title track Darkness Devours, to the chugging riffs plastered throughout the album. Those three genres, death, doom and hardcore, marry together into the lumbering and thoroughly pissed off beast that is Darkness Devours.

The vocals on this thing are a spiteful, guttural monster. Marcus Hartford nails the low end across this record, occasionally throwing a twisted snarl into the venomous stew. He is perfectly accompanied by Eric Haubert, who murders it on here with a really pounding display behind the kit. The occasional blast helps to churn up that sound and tear the listener a plethora of new ones.

Those three genres, death, doom and hardcore, marry together into the lumbering and thoroughly pissed off beast that is Darkness Devours…

The cymbal work has that distinct hardcore feel to it, especially when combined with those chugged riffs which are draped in darkness and are impossible for me not to bob my bald ass head too, (hey, hopefully it helps work off my COVID quadruple chin… thanks Hanging Fortress!). The record drags along at a steady pace, occasionally stirring up with some quicker, heavier, sections that absolutely slay, but the majority of the time it’s a mid paced slugger which sounds like it weighs an absolute tonne.

To be frank, this record caught me by surprise. On first listen I actually felt that there wasn’t much variation and that it’s one long track, but on multiple listens it actually has quite a lot of depth and subtle notes that I didn’t pick up straight away. It’s grown on me and will be one I definitely revisit. From a reviewers perspective, I always listen to records countless times before I start to write, but I usually get a good feel from my first dip into the album. This one threw me and I’m glad it did.

So if you like the sound of this mash up of doom, death and hardcore, then I urge you to go and give this a go… you might just like it. I accept no liability for any injuries to the neck sustained due to listening to this record.

Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Matt Alexander