Fortify – Valhalla [EP]

Female fronted Essex rockers Fortify are due to release their debut EP,  the self release Valhalla on 27th October. Opening with What About Us, the listener’s first impression is that the group take their influences from heavier rock, however there are some pop elements which are heavily present in the chorus. The song takes lyrical influence from spurned love, reducing the heaviness somewhat. Lead singer Anna Louise’s voice also sounds quite poppy, adding to the self described ‘easycore’ genre.

Following What About Us is Survivors, opening with a slow guitar riff. It is the slowest song on Valhalla, and the only track in 3/4 time. The speed and the broken chord riff make the track the most pop/easycore on the EP. It begins to build up at the chorus without losing the pop aspect.

In the middle of Valhalla is Rumours, and the opening riff sounds like a mash up between Incubus and Madina Lake, incorporating the alt rock vibe. The chorus is the catchiest so far on the EP, and the listener can imagine Rumours would be a real crowd pleaser in a concert setting. It is hear that the listener really begins to notice the variation in lead vocalist Anna Louise’s voice, particularly in contrast to Survivors. The guitar solo here is also the best on the EP. Each instrument can be heard in Rumours perfectly in the balance of the song, enhancing the epic sound that the track already has.

Following in much the same vein is Emergency Exit, another great track that sounds more alternative than What About Us and Survivors whilst incorporating some of those heavier themes that Rumours uses. It is here that the range in vocals is really shown, from the growly lows to the perfect highs. The timing in the stops during the second verse are all nailed perfectly, before leading into the slower bridge.

Final track Strangers is another faster and heavier song, and gives the listener the impression that Valhalla has been building up to this moment. Strangers is a slightly longer song than the previous tracks, sitting just shy of 5 minutes. Here again the listener can see the impressive vocal range of Anna Louise, particularly contrasting the screamed backing vocals during the bridge. However there is no final chorus to this track, leaving the listener wanting more.

The recurring theme throughout Valhalla is half time bridges, which are all well planned and well executed. The listener finishes the EP feeling pumped from the build up of tracks and definitely wanting to hear more, and looking forward to a gig or album release.