Jersey’s Death Fortress unleash furious, filthy death strikes on mauling ‘Triumph of the Undying’

There is this cliché that nasty things come out of New Jersey. I don’t know. I’ve been there a few times and found things not terribly offensive. I even liked parts of it. But that reputation the Garden State has earned isn’t one that can be shaken easily, it seems, and some of the music bubbling out of that place isn’t doing much to make the place seem more habitable.

Take Death Fortress, for instance, a three-headed beast that combines the foulest of black and death metal strains and spews out something horrifying and tough to get comfortable with as you sit alongside. The band has been making devastating, filthy sounds ever since their formation a few years back (we don’t have exact birthdate, but their first demo was released in 2012), and now they’re back with their vicious third record “Triumph of the Undying.” This six-cut effort, that follows up last year’s massive “Deathless March of the Unwielding,” is mighty and gut-wrenching, a record that refuses to revel in style points and only is here to smear faces with broken glass. The band—bassist/vocalist Tom Warrior (um, not that Tom Warrior), guitarist/vocalist Joe Aversario, drummer Shawn Eldridge—spreads it war-torn devastation over 32 minutes, and the result should leave you bruised, bleeding, and suffering.

“Storming Wrath” gets the record started with a splatter of drums that seem to indicate a militaristic assault is near, and that’s not exactly false. Driving riffs and engorged death growls burst, later trading off with shrieks, and the song goes on to exact malicious punishment. Guitars rain down, and the song has a cataclysmic end. “Warrior’s Mantle” has guitars rushing and growls crushing, as the vocals again feel gross and intense. The drums devastate, while melodies cascade into the hell, and animalistic howls join the fray to bring things to an animalistic end. “Battlefield Zenith” is a fury from the start, with smeared growls and bloody guitars going for throats. The song slips into atmospheric territory for a stretch, feeling mystical and dizzy. But out of that, the madness renews, and the tracks pounds away up to the very end.

“Wisdom of the Unspoken” slowly wakes up from its grave, taking its time to develop an ambiance before going apeshit. Growls and shrieks trade off, as the band heads into a fiery assault that practically threatens that no one will come out alive. The horrifying vocals never let up, as the track comes to a smothering end. “Triumph of the Undying” throws a curveball at first, as punk-fueled drums get things going before the floodgates open and we’re off to insanity. The pace absolutely pummels you, as wildness emerges and races across the land, and everything is sucked into a hell cyclone that is driven into a black hole. Closer “Underneath the Epoch’s Crown” has a blistering, nasty start that threatens to burn faces. The tempo pastes everything in its path, hinting at no mercy, but then a slight halt arrives, letting off intensity. Sounds hang in the air and sting the senses, while the storm erupts again, the playing rushes the gates, and the cut comes to a horrific, yet melodic finish.

Death Fortress have done a lot of damage in not a lot of time, and that continues with “Triumph of the Undying,” a disgusting dose of black and death metal violence. This Jersey trio continues to smear soot on the face of the Earth and make their home state a little more dangerous. This is a skull-mashing display that has nothing but ill intent to deliver and an agenda to scar lives.

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