If you love traditional heavy metal, then please, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a new band who I think you’ll love – California’s Fortress!

Nestling somewhere on the metal spectrum between Queensrÿche (especially the superb second track here, Devil’s Wheel) and Riot V, Fortress have got you covered if you live for epic melodies, headbanging rhythms and musclebound riffs. Songs like Children of the Night will transport you back to the early eighties with their deft use of keyboards that give an air of majesty and mystery to proceedings in best Dio fashion -seriously, this song could have been a Holy Diver b-side!

This band has only one guitarist, Fili Bibiano, so we’re a little light on the dynamics provided by a classic guitar pairing a la Smith/Murray or Downing/Tipton, but that didn’t hold back Virgin Steele when Jack Starr was in charge of guitar duties, and in all honestly it doesn’t harm Fortress. The title track actually carries the legacy of bands like Virgin Steele in to the middle of the twenty first century, giving off a real US power metal charge as it hurtles headlong into your headspace, and, after listening to this record a lot (make that A LOT!!!) over the last couple of weeks, the only negative response I can come up with is that, at under half an hour in duration, it’s just too damn short!

Vocalist Chris Scott Nunez is a real find, hitting notes on opening track Lost Forever that will surely have rival singers weeping with envy when they hear what this guy has to offer; I can honestly say that I haven’t been this impressed by an ‘unknown’ vocalist in a long, long time and his partnership with Bibiano must be one of the most potentially golden in the entire heavy metal realm right now – watch this space!

I won’t go on any further – please, just give this album a chance and take Fortress to your metal hearts now!

Don’t Spare The Wicked is out now.