June 24, 2021
Photo: Yannick Lartigue

Fortunato is a French progressive metal rock band led by the bass playing vocalist Markus Fortunato with a history in music going back over 40-years. Not a name I have come across before but it seems that he was the leader of a metal band called MZ which he formed in 1999 and which subsequently released seven albums before morphing into Fortunato. The new band’s debut Liberty, then came out in 2012 which was followed by Restless Fire in 2015.

Now we have the band’s third album Insurgency which sees a different line-up from earlier albums and it appears that Markus Fortunato is a musician who delights in freshening things up and bringing in new musicians with new ideas and different ways of working. The band became a three-piece for this new album with Fortunato again providing vocals and bass with drums courtesy of David Amore and guitar from Sébastien Vallée. Fortunato follows the unwritten rule that any three-piece must be capable of putting out more power/energy/noise that a typical five-piece band as Insurgency is a loud, heavy and thunderous rock album that harks back to the glory days of the ’70s when metal was king. The style is a pleasing mixture of prog metal, hard rock and a little symphonic metal as there as some keyboards in the background but they are not credited in the publicity. Fortunato has a vocal delivery which reminds a little of Fish and with his English lyrics having just a hint of a delightful French accent which gives the music that little extra Gallic flair which always makes anything French just that touch more exotic and sophisticated. His bass playing is punchy and tight over which Sébastien Vallée comes in as the new gunslinger in town to amaze with his prowess and trickery. Not your standard axe-man either as he alternates his riffs and solos with intricate runs and rhythmic bursts that truly thrill and he complements the vocals of Fortunato perfectly. In many respects, the band has a sound somewhere between Redemption and Lazuli which doesn’t really give a full flavour but should be enough to pique your interest.

The French have a particular way of doing things and this means that their rock bands are just a little left off centre but always, and I mean always, offer something a little different or extra to bands from the rest of the world. Call it ‘je ne sais quoi’ if you wish but it is this touch of genius or magic that always marks them out as special and deserving of attention. Fortunato are not the best band in the world by any means but they play their brand of rock with a Gallic joy and a sense of freedom that is invigorating and always worthy of investigation.

Insurgency track list

  1. Carry On To The Depths Of The Sea (4:19)
  2. Blood Of The Unknown (5:12)
  3. For Eternity (4:51)
  4. Fly Away (4:37)
  5. The Sun Shall Never Shine (5:52)
  6. Everywhere (5:03)
  7. A Star In The Sky (4:20)
  8. A White Cross On A Norman Field (4:05)
  9. Big Time (4:05)
  10. My Mother Was A Who? (3:51)
  11. Insurgency (9:04)