|Release Date||30 July 2019|
Have you had too much of the hundred light, fluffy, symphonic power metal albums that have come out in the last month and a half? Well then, you’re in luck, because Desert have thundered in with their third album of colossal, aggressive, badass war metal. Despite the historical content that’s akin to the likes of Sabaton, Fortune Favors the Brave offers a completely different delivery; Desert’s storytelling relies more on crafting a dark atmosphere than bellowing out catchy, victorious anthems (that isn’t to say there aren’t some seriously epic choruses). Although, like Sabaton, the rhythm section carries a relentless, blood-boiling boom, so you can expect a different but paralleled experience between the two.
Behind the pounding music are bandmates that are just as battle-hardened. The rhythm section, complete with absolutely killer drumming, is super tight and keeps the excitement going, rarely setting into a single feel. There are also tasteful keyboard parts integrated throughout, but they’re used sparingly to allow the music to retain a raw, sharp edge. For an album like this, I was also surprised to hear such a beefy bass sound and clear basslines (especially evident in ‘Operation Thunderbolt’) because power metal bands are notoriously guilty of stifling their bassists behind the rhythm guitar. Additionally, vocalist Alexei Raymar deserves special mention. His gritty voice, which is reminiscent of Iron Savior’s Piet Sielck, leads every melody to glory.
The highlight on this album, however, is the guitarwork. Sergei Metalheart and Alex Zvulun prove their worth as mighty axemen with massive riffs and ripping solos (like that sick fucking shredder in ‘We Were Soldiers’), as well as unleash other techniques, like doomy black metal tremolo. There are also times, such as in ‘My Black Flag’, where there are a couple riffs stacked on top of eachother, which provides the music with a higher level of depth without becoming chaotic.
Now, I know I’ve put a lot of focus at how gung-ho this album is (because that’s pretty much the focus of the album) but there’s actually a fairly wide expanse of dynamism. For example, you have songs like ‘Hajduk’s Revenge’ and ‘I Gave You A Kingdom’ that are basted in Middle Eastern influence and venture through a couple different grooves, and then there’s ‘We Were Soldiers’, which is slightly more pulled back and offers a more reflective, melancholic early 90s metal feel. Each song explores a couple different feels with a few well-placed light sections that give the surrounding vigour an amplified impact.
If Fortune Favors the Brave doesn’t make you want to storm the nearest battlefield, that’s your own fault and you should probably see your doctor about receiving testosterone therapy. Seriously, you’ll hear “war metal” thrown around here and there these days, but Desert are the real fucking deal, and their metal is as heavy as a warrior’s heart.
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Stay Metal \m/
Track 02: Orden Ogany
Fortune Favors: Some tremolo guitar.