Winter by FenRelease date: February 10, 2017
Label: Code666 Records
Fen is an established band in the atmospheric, post-black metal, folk/pagan black metal scene that is also one of the UK’s most prominent acts in the metal genre. They have just released a new full-length album care of Code666 Records called Winter, and true to their sound and style, Winter follows up previous full-length album Carrion Skies and Sleepwalker split release, Call of Ashes II / Stone and Sea with a potent full-length album that fans of the atmospheric/post/folk/pagan black metal movements will appreciate. Perhaps one of their most impressive releases to date, Winter sees Fen exploring more melancholia and depressive black metal tendencies than on previous releases.
The members of Fen don’t subscribe to preconceived notions that have crippled the metal scene, such as scene hype and image focus. They don’t wear the bullet-belts and the endless foray of tattoos and leather that scene-centric individuals feel they must follow from the examples of other bands. It is one thing I’ve always liked about the members of Fen, and this open-mindedness is what blesses fans of the band with the creation of music that mixes a large cavalcade of elements and styles.
The band is an active entity in the shadow of black metal bands that offer click-bait headlines in promotional efforts. They labor for their art and their music clearly showcases aesthetics of musical elements outside the typical black metal template. More and more bands are diversifying their song arrangements in favor of genre-bending offerings that no longer offer one predominant style.
The tremolo-picked portions are still used rampantly. Winter features lush, clean vocal segments, chants and harsh vocals, as well as plenty of ambient portions heavy with rung notes. The band mixes up the song structure to levels of unpredictability that helps fans find interesting sections within the songs. The album mixes tempo changes with focus on slower more meditative sections that intrigue listeners of wistful folk/pagan black metal. The rock-strumming sections are sure to energize audiences. The chord progressions in slower sections utilize a sound reminiscent of the doom genre. The band does not lack in genuine ideas on Winter, and fans of Fen will support this new album as fervently as they’ve supported milestone efforts such as Epoch.
I’ve followed the band through their evolution and history, and find no faults in their latest release, Winter. They have explored this latest concept with ingenuity and a determination to expand the band’s horizons, without needlessly venturing in territories outside of the range of elements they’ve been known for. Join me in supporting a band that constantly delivers the goods. Fen may not win popularity contests that second-wave bands win easily as a result of semantics and gimmicks, but Fen presents intelligence in music, and this is definitely good for fans of black metal and metal in general.