| Artist: James D. Stark|
CD Title: Fortress of Solitude
Label: Self Produced
Reviewer: Jeremy Eckhart
Tracklist: 1. Dying Beauty 2. Need 3. A Long Time Ago, In A Land Far Away 4. Chance 5. Halo 6. Tears In The Dark 7. Mists 8. Home 9.Sole Desire 10.King
"Fortress of Solitude", the second album by James D. Stark, is an amazing blend of synth-pop and darkwave created by a dedicated, dark, musician who has reinvented his sound, and in my opinion, truly found his niche.
Writtened, performed, arranged, produced, engineered, and designed by Stark himself, the album is a living extension of the creator and his undying romanticism, and a testament to the raw emotion poured into the songs and vocals.
Clever, well written vocals that convey a myriad of love lost, pain, and a bitter melancholy that bites to the core. "Fortress of Solitude" showcases the drastic vocal improvement over his debut album "Transcendence" released in 2002. Stark has grown as a person and as a musician, and the evolution is a very positive and productive one.
Stand out tracks on the CD for me were "King", "Chance", "Home", and "Mists", which reminded me of what might happen if you crossed Kraftwerk with Depeche Mode. It is a very catchy instrumental song.
I think fans of V.A.S.T., Depeche Mode, VNV Nation, and other similar synth and darkwave bands will really appreciate this for it's originality. James is a classically trained pianist, and his aptitude with different instruments is evident on such songs as "A Long Time Ago In a Land Far Away" and "King", a brilliant medeval-like ballad that is one of the strongest songs on the album, as it is just James and his piano in all their glory.
"Fortress of Solitude" also features a great version of Depeche Mode's "Halo", which personally, I think is far improved over the original. I personally have no idea why James has not been offered a record deal yet...
For more info, please visit his website at:
Dive into the sea of fantasy...
Rating: 08/10 - Jeremy Eckhart 2005
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