Have you ever been tempted to lay your sweet and tender head down on an anvil while several stone-faced people take turns with sledgehammers busting it open like a watermelon? Well, either way, the thought’s sitting in your brain now. You’re gleefully falling to your knees, a blithe and dreamy smile on your face as you eagerly anticipate passing into oblivion at the hands of your all-too-willing assistants. As their fingers tense around the hammers, the anticipation rises — the sensation of relinquishing all agency and control as you submit will be exquisite. Savor it as your brain is pounded into paste.

That’s also what listening to Hanging Fortress feels like. As the Toledo quintet prepare to drop their debut full-length release Darkness Devours, we’ve got the album closer "Killing You" streaming right here. Take a knee and submit to Hanging Fortress with this exclusive premiere.

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Hanging Fortress’s death metal is hardcore-informed, but it’s not deathcore — at least, not the way I typically imagine it sounding. Instead, the group keep their death metal on the classically oriented end of the spectrum, marrying the slams, vocal delivery, and spacious production of their forebears with the straightforwardness and downbeat-centric approach of their hardcore peers.

On the track, vocalist Marcus Hartford takes Runescape and Skyrim as the starting point for an introspective track that "focuses on self-preservation and survival while exploring the inner thoughts of one’s self during a warzone-type setting," he says. That's fitting with my earlier hammer-obsessed musings, as any Skyrim player is certainly familiar with the brain-annihilating process of forging those iron daggers.

In that sense, Hanging Fortress may have created the perfect soundtrack to the games and legends that have inspired at least one of the songs on Darkness Devours. So go ahead. Be the watermelon. It’s going to feel so good.

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Darkness Devours releases November 6, 2020 via Redefining Darkness Records.