Fortress is a new traditional heavy metal band from Whittier in California. They started around early 2016 after lead guitarist Fili Bibiano's old band Auxilery had disbanded. He explains: “I wanted to start a band that was personal to me and I had my own vision of the music I wanted to play. I asked Chris Nunez to join my band on vocals as he was very close friends with my older brother Aldo Bibiano (ex-Exmortus). Chris was very reserved at first but when I heard him do the high vocals on 'Victim Of Changes' by Judas Priest I knew he was the right guy for the job. After that I had a couple of drummers jam with us but the schedules were clashing a lot. Finally, my former guitarist from Auxilery, Eddie Bravo, introduced me to Rob Duran, our current drummer. He is a great drummer and has the passion of the music inside him. Along with Robert came my former guitarist Eddie Bravo, he started jamming with us and helped write the EP and became part of the band. When we played our first shows we needed a bass player, so we enlisted our close friend Andrew Gonzalez, guitarist of Witchaven. After a while of playing and Andrew's schedule getting more and more busy, we decided to find another bass player. Our current bass player is Uli Serrano. Much like our drummer he is very passionate about the music and they make a great team. Later on, our guitarist Eddie Bravo was unable to continue in the band due to personal reasons and we went on to record the Fortress EP with our current line up consisting of Chris Nunez (vocals), Fili Bibiano (guitar), Uli Serrano (bass) and Rob Duran (drums).
“As individuals our influences vary,” describes Fili Bibiano Fortress' style. “However, I can think of bands we can agree on. We are very much influenced by the hard rock/heavy metal bands of the 1970s/80s, such as Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Scorpions, Ozzy, Loudness, Judas Priest, Helloween, Racer X, KISS, Deep Purple, Dio, Queensryche, Dokken, and of course Iron Maiden, although I would not consider all our music to be primarily influenced by Maiden.”
Talking about Iron Maiden, the song “Bloodmoon” by Fortress does indeed bear a slight similarity to the glorious »Piece Of Mind« album. Fili Bibiano states: “A lot of people have been saying Chris's voice sounds like Bruce and that is a huge compliment. I will agree that one sounds a bit more Maiden-ish but it is a combination of a lot of influences and how we imagined that song to be. Chris is very much influenced by singers like Ian Gillan, Rob Halford, Ronnie James Dio, and even some soul/r&b singers. Rob Halford is indeed a big influence on him.”
Guitar player Fili Bibiano has his own influences though: “A lot of my lead guitar playing comes from a lot of influences, such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Paul Gilbert, Ace Frehley. On particular parts where I do some finger tapping things, I do think of a Eddie Van Halen and an Yngwie Malmsteen feel so yes, I would say both are an influence.”
“The four tracks on the mini-album are written as short stories”, is how Fili Bibiano describes the band's vinyl debut, “mainly based on superstitions, paranoia, and death. You have to listen to each song to understand the theme as they are all different.”
The mini-album has been out as a private pressing for quite some time. So by now the material by is not brand new any more, a new album is likely to be appear in the not to distant future, as Fili Bibiano explains: “Yes, we are including some songs we have already written that were not on the EP, as well as some new ones. We are currently doing some pre-production and working hard to achieve the sound we want. Each song on the album is different than the other, having a broader sound than what was presented on the EP. This album is going in many directions, the songs range from speed metal to classic rock. The band as a whole has many different influences and we try to incorporate as much as we can into our music.”