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Fortis Ventus – Vertalia

Fortis Ventus
Vertalia
by Thomas Kumke at 27 June 2022, 11:42 AM

FORTIS VENTUS hailing from Athens, Greece were formed in 2016. The symphonic Metal band released so far one EP and “Vertalia” is their debut full-length album. It has a length of almost one hour. The album was produced by George Halliwell, co-produced by Yannis Petroyannis, recorded by Dee Theodorou at iCave Studio, and mixed and mastered by Yannis Petroyannis at Matrix Recording Studio. “Vertalia” was released via Italian label Rockshots Records which is specialized in symphonic Metal, Power Metal, and progressive Metal.

It took FORTIS VENTUS a long while to finally release their debut full-length album. Things started quickly after their formation when they released the EP “Haunted Heart” in 2017. From the line-up back then, only George Halliwel and vocalist Nancy Mos are still with the band and there were several line-up changes in 2018 and 2019. Now with the refreshed line-up, “Vertalia” is going to be a first serious marker for the band’s music.

The album starts with a tension-building symphonic part into “Between Love And War” which is accompanied by the soprano vocals of Nancy Mos and guest vocalist Dee Theodorou (ILLUSORY, SIRENS), before it transitions into a Metal-driven part with plenty of Power Metal vibes. The guitar riffing is powerful, and the drumming contains a lot of double-bass drumming. The orchestral arrangements equally contribute to the track. The song comes quickly to an end leaving the Metal parts unexpectedly short. “Birth Of Sadness” starts slow with keyboards and a cinematic intro with the strings and the piano. Nancy Mos carries the track with her beautiful voice at a measured and slow tempo and keeps the track excellently together when the guitars, bass, and drums join in. It is the first ballad of the album, and it includes a very contributing lead guitar solo. As slow as the song starts, it finishes with the piano. The cello on “Birth Of Sadness” is played by Maria Mazaraki-Ainianos.

The title song characterizes the album best: the orchestral arrangements are the leading parts of the music of FORTIS VENTUS, with vocalist Nancy Mos as the focal point. The guitars, bass, and drums rejoining the album on the next song “Cave Of Glass” only. Here, the Metal instruments contribute equally to the song with heavy guitar riffing at mid-tempo. Despite I view “Cave Of Glass” as a traditional symphonic Metal song, the orchestral arrangements are still a bit too dominant. The song was released as video with the YouTube link given below.

After the orchestral pre-lude “Living Thorns”, “Gothecia” is one of the few songs where the guitars are really the leading instruments. It is a dark song with powerful guitar riffing at mid-tempo. The balance between Metal instruments and orchestral arrangements is very well balanced, and for me, “Gothecia” is one of the album highlights. “Unveilling Path” has a short intro with Maria Mazaraki-Ainianos again on the Cello. The track has a long instrumental start, before the vocals join in and it all develops into a symphonic Metal track at mid-tempo with catchy melodies during the chorus parts. “Unveilling Path” has again a few Power Metal features in the riffing and the drumming, but also a few epic moments at a measured tempo. There are quite long orchestral interludes as the track exceeds the 10 minutes mark. When I listen to the lead guitar solo near the end of the track, it inevitably reminds me on epic IRON MAIDEN songs from their later period. From a songwriting point of view, “Unveilling Path” is one of the album highlights.

My Death Is My Devotion” is another mid-tempo track where Metal instruments and orchestra contribute equally to the sound. It is one of the heavier and darker songs on the album. After another orchestral pre-lude, the album continues with “Reflections Of Myself” which includes guest vocalist Michalis Artz who provides the backing vocals. The song starts strongly with the guitars and the piano, and both instruments drive the song forward. The vocals cover a very broad range, including a few deeper notes during the chorus. Highlight of the song is the lead guitar solo. “The Eagle’s Chase” is one of the slightly faster than mid-tempo tracks on the album and it is one of the easy-to-listen songs. The orchestral arrangements are not overly dominant, they contribute very well to the sound of the song. The album finishes with another ballad. “Homeland” is a slow, orchestral track with the strings as a main contributor to the sound. Highlight (and not only on “Homeland”) are the vocals, since Nancy Mos voice and her operatic style are perfect for those compositions.

Vertalia” is a symphonic Metal album with the emphasis on the orchestral arrangements. All songs are composed towards the vocals and Nancy Mos shows her outstanding talent on every track of the album. Her vocals are not only versatile, she is also capable of transporting emotions to the audience. The Metal parts are a bit underrepresented in my opinion. The album is well produced. FORTIS VENTUS delivered a very good and mature album as far as the orchestral arrangements and vocals are concerned. The album would have benefitted from a bit more focus on “Metal”. Symphonic Metal fans should give “Vertalia” a listen, and how many of them will dig the album remains to be seen.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  6
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Between Love And War (ft. Dee Theodorou)
2. Birth Of Sadness
3. Vertalia
4. Cave Of Glass
5. Living Thorns (Prelude)
6. Gothecia
7. Unveiling Path
8. My Death Is My Devotion
9. Door To The Unknown (Prelude)
10. Reflections Of Myself
11. The Eagle’s Chase
12. Homeland
Lineup:
Nancy Mos – Vocals
Gregory Koilakos – Guitars, Bass
George Halliwel ­ Keyboards, Programming
Gregory Giarelis (Guest) – Drums
Record Label: Rockshots Records
     


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