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Polen en metal is al lang geen vreemde combinatie meer. De laatste jaren zijn er veel goede bands uit dit land voortgekomen die ook over de grenzen heen een naam hebben opgebouwd. Het valt hierbij echter wel op dat veel van deze bands zich voornamelijk in de wereld van de death en black metal bevinden. Maar hier gaat verandering in komen want via bands zoals Fortress kunnen we nu namelijk ook genieten van Poolse thrash metal die gebaseerd is op de Amerikaanse school uit de jaren tachtig. Het debuut album 'Modern Days Society' van dit viertal wist onze Tormentor Erich al behoorlijk in vervoering te brengen en dus zocht hij zanger en bassist Tomek Przewor op voor een eerste kennismaking en een gesprek over hoe het een en ander tot stand is gekomen.

Door: Tormentor Erich | Archiveer onder speed / thrash metal

Hello Tomek. Fortress started in 2007 and it took you four years before the release of your first album 'Modern Days Society' in 2011. Why did this took you four years?
Hi Erich. Well indeed, everything took longer than we had expected. You see, since the beginning till the end everything was financed by us, the studio, production, etc. We were (and still are) young students without a permanent job, so money was the main problem and the cause of all of the delays. During the post-production process we had to take a few breaks to collect more money to pay off the studio. I remember that we have practised a lot, at least twice a week for a few hours, and a year before we entered the studio we had written all the material. During those four years a lot has changed in our band. We have suffered from the stagnation caused by some major line-up changes. Drummer Michał and lead guitarist Kuba left the band and they were replaced by Mekong from Terrordome on drums and Paweł from Mastemey on guitar. Now with a new, stable line-up we can start promoting our stuff. So the current line up contains me as vocalist/bassist, Jabol and Paweł as guitarists and Mekong as a drummer.

As you said, the album is self financed. Was there no label interested to release 'Modern Days Society'?
We have sent promos to a lot of people and labels, both from Poland and abroad, but the response was mediocre. Then Leszek Wojnicz-Sianożęcki from Thrashing Madness Productions contacted us and offered us help with the release. And we agreed! We thought about the cooperation back in the year 2009, right after the recording sessions for our debut album had begun. Nothing serious happened then, because we didn't know when the album would be ready and we didn't want to make any serious commitments before finishing it. But okay, now it is finally done and available.

I have to admit that 'Modern Days Society' is not only filled with great music, it also sounds good and it looks good. How did you manage to achieve all of this, considering no label was involved?
Thank you, it is very nice to hear this. It's good to know that those four years weren't wasted, ha ha. Frankly we're not very satisfied with this record, we know that we could do it a lot better, so the pleasure of hearing such things is even bigger, ha ha. We put a lot of heart into our debut album, I think that's why it sounds pretty decent. Despite all of the problems we had we believed in our music. We believed that it is worth every drop of blood and tear we shed during those four years, he he.

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To me the music from Fortress sounds as mid eighties American thrash metal. And I mean this as a compliment. It doesn't sound like typical Polish metal at all. Why is your music so different? What influences did you use?
Yes, that's a compliment, definitely. I don't think that we are the only American oriented thrash metal band in Poland, I don't know what your insight into Polish metal scene is, but we've got a few good bands sounding pretty American, like Whorehouse or Horrorscope. But I do understand that they might not be as recognizable abroad as some black metal and death metal acts from Poland. It is true that the black/death metal scene is the strongest in number and quality here and thrash metal in general is not very popular. Our music is different because thrash metal is great energy, fun and once again, energy. I can't think of any other genre in metal that is so energetic that you want to jump all around your room screaming. And that is what we love to do, ha ha. We are under the huge influence of the American scene, we listen a lot to Slayer, Forbidden, Exodus, Annihilator, Testament and Megadeth. These are our favourite bands.

I also noticed that you have a couple of interesting social lyrics on the album. What can you tell us more about the background (lyric wise) of songs such as 'I Like To Watch' and the title track?
'I Like To Watch' is a song about the kids spending most of their time on the internet, having no social life at all. All they do is browsing MySpace and facebook profiles and watching what people are doing at the moment. Well, you might smile while reading it, but it's about a serious problem! The title track is about society in general. People act like a thoughtless flock of sheep, listening to their “shepherds” or so called “authorities”. So the song is about thinking by yourself and not being restricted by any kind of religion, manner or whatever. You can say it is a standard metal theme, but in my opinion this problem is still very actual and it is worth to write a song about it.

Besides the serious stuff there is also room for a track like 'We Rule The Night' which is something like your personal metal anthem. Right?
I remember that I couldn't find any decent topics to write a song about, so I thought I would make it easy and wrote about killing posers, how kick-ass we are and stuff. You know, every thrash metal band has to have at least one song like this. The lyrics are cheesy as hell, but they are catchy and a lot of people are trying to sing along this song with me on gigs. All hands in the air and people screaming the chorus to my microphone, this is pretty awesome! And yes, I think that we can call it our little metal anthem.

So, the album is out and the future is open. What are the plans? Gigs in The Netherlands perhaps? And what about new songs or another album release?
If we ever have a chance to play in your country, we will do it with pleasure! But right now we're trying to focus on Poland, still we've got a lot of places to conquer here, if you know what I mean. So generally speaking, our plan is to play a lot of gigs all around Poland, as much gigs as it is possible, and maybe we'll pop out somewhere abroad next year and finally we want to record our second album, which I'm sure will be a lot better than 'Modern Days Society'! For more information on what we are currently doing, check out our MySpace and facebook profiles!

In another interview I did recently with another Polish band called Voidhanger I asked them why metal is so strongly flowing in Poland these days. What is the secret behind the metal scene in your country?
Well, frankly I don' know. Maybe it's something in our blood, like heavy metals from Silesian mines and factories or some kind of mutation caused by the explosion in Chernobyl, ha ha! It's really hard to say, but we've got a lot of good metal bands. The underground scene is very strong, so something must be in the air definitely.

Okay guys. This is it for me. I wish you all the best for 'Modern Days Society' and the space here below is yours for some final thoughts.
Thanks a lot for interest and good word, Erich. We want to send our greetings to people who supports us, who hates us and to all of the readers of the LoM e-zine! THRASH!!

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