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FORTRESS UNDER SIEGE's Fotis Sotiropoulos: "You can never tell of course how things will evolve in the production process; something can surprise you in the end. It is true though that we are sifting more and more to Heavy Power Metal than to Prog."

Interview with Fotis Sotiropoulos from Fortress Under Siege
by Kevin Lewis at 25 November 2020, 2:03 AM

Greek prog/power metal band FORTRESS UNDER SIEGE is one of those bands capable of writing an epic tale lauding the storied history of their homeland or a current song providing insight to how they feel about the current world view. Formed in the mid-1990s, this six-piece unit stands tall with a dual guitar attack and a keyboard player that can weave through their playing with an expertise that is very impressive. With a solid rhythm section and a vocalist that can drop low or soar above the music, this is a band you need in your playlist. Add some HELLOWEEN, SAVATAGE and DREAM THEATER to get a feel for where they fit in the prog/power genre and just enjoy some awesome tunes. Metal Temple writer recently caught up with founding member Fotis Sotiropoulos to talk about the new album. 

Greece has such a long and storied history, including epic poems and tales of great heroic adventures. How has this influenced your lyrical content and shaped the composition of your music?

Fotis Sotiropoulos: We use to borrow some themes from ancient Hellenic history and mythology. In the last album there are songs about the mythical ancient king Theseus in "Seventh Son", or the legendary duel of Trojan prince Hector with mighty Achilles in "Hector's Last Fight", or Spartacus as the everlasting symbol of struggle for freedom against tyranny and oppression in his self-titled song. In the "Mortal flesh of love" album there are also songs with such lyrical content, such as the ultimate sacrificial stand of Spartans and Thespians against Persian invasion in "Gods of war", or a hymn to Alexander the Great in "Alexander" and a critical view on first fall of Constantinople by the "holy" Crusaders on 1204 in "Deeds of all disgrace".

While some of your songs seem to focus on the past and the epic poetry/stories of old, some are much more modern and timely. How is the current situation in Greece (immigration and refugees, pandemic) shaping these songs?

FS: We haven't dealt with those matters lyrically yet, but I think that the current situation might give influence to a lot of bands to write about. Nevertheless, there are other songs with a social-sensitive view describing problems like the one of overprotecting mothers in "Love Enforcer", or school bullying in "Time for Rage" and the problems of human communication in "Silence of Our Words". Also, in "The mortal flesh of love" album we have dealt a lot with the matters of religion and with the negative impact it has in human behavior.

With 2020 being the year of the world going crazy, are there any topics that you are writing about now for a possible new record?

FS: Hopefully, we will start recording the new album in early summer of 2021. All the pre-production stage is already done and we have started rehearsing the new material. Let us hope that the coronavirus situation will not be a huge obstacle timewise.

From 1996 -2010, you put out an EP and a demo, then something clicked. Since 2011, you have released three full-length records. Is there a specific event or issue that just made everything work? What happened to make this project leap ahead like this?

FS: The reunion of the band in 2010 was an ardent desire for me. It was burning quietly at first and was getting bigger and bigger gradually. Finally, we managed to come together again but that was not the end of our adventure. A lot of musicians came and gone and three albums were made with different singer each one of them. Let's hope that things will be more stable now on.

You are definitely locked into the power/progressive metal genre, but there are also minor elements of symphonic with some of the keyboard tones and textures. Are there any specific symphonic metal bands that influence you?

FS: I don't think so, my influences come from the 80's and 90's metal bands. Maybe our keyboard player has something to say about this but I've noticed that everybody finds different influences in us, which is really funny and amusing.

Are there any other musical influences that are shifting your songwriting compositions? Can we expect the songs to keep getting more elements added?

FS: I believe that we'll stay in the current style, as it shaped in "Atlantis". You can never tell of course how things will evolve in the production process; something can surprise you in the end. It is true though that we are sifting more and more to heavy power metal than to prog, but I'm also curious about the final result.

What is next for Fortress Under Siege? Are you going to be able to tour anywhere? Are you able to take this time to write more new music? Can you get together as a band to work on music and maybe rehearse for a live show?

FS: At the moment everything is closed and we are in quarantine. As soon as life comes to an adequate normality, we will continue rehearsing the new material and will arrange live performances. We want desperately to go live and we will as much as we can.


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Edited 28 January 2023

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