Genre: Progressive black metal
Label: Code 666
Ugly, rude, rough but also aching and ethereal is the black metal that the British deliver on their fourth full length album. It was sunny when I started listening to it but their aura immediately brought darkness. With (mainly) mid tempo tunes that alternate with brilliant outbreaks, with the cardinal rhythm turning to something else and vice versa, keeping the listeners on their toes and without the band showing off or being immodest.
Their post black metal brings back memories from IN THE WOODS’ first steps, while there are moments that make you believe that nuggets of OPETH’s lost magnificence of the interval between unrefined death and progressive, are scattered all over “Carrion skies”. FEN’s plan and purpose is simple and at the same time effective. They raise solid riffs in the background, then they marry them to minimal, ambient melodies and they artfully floor it, achieving the necessary for the occasion pompous atmosphere. The Watcher on vocals is a welcome guest, bestowing his respected growls on the album which although they are convincing, they still leave room for improvement.
The six long-length compositions also function as a concept, since they share common characteristics, building fittingly both the aggressive structure of their material and the melancholic acoustic parts.
No doubt the band has shown huge progress when compared to their debut album “The malediction fields” back in 2009 (preceded by the mini album “Ancient sorrow” in 2007) and after “Carrion skies” they seem to be ready for bigger things.
If you wish your black metal to be aggressive, not monolithic, dressed with a lot of acoustic parts, something that lies somewhere between the borders established by IN THE WOODS, OPERA IX, EMPYRIUM, OPETH on one side and CARPATHIAN FOREST and ALGAION on the other side, then FEN is for you. They are too progressive for the hardcore fans and too rough for the rest.
“Our names written in embers- Part 2″and “Sentinels” really stand out and so does the “Gathering the stones” which brings back memories of ANATHEMA.