Fen - Winter review



Reviewer:
7.0

64 users:
7.91
Band: Fen
Album: Winter
Release date: March 2017


Disc I
01. I (Pathway)
02. II (Penance)
03. III (Fear)
04. IV (Interment)
05. V (Death)
06. VI (Sight)

Disc II [bonus]
01. The Keening Soils
02. Sight (Reprise)
03. Penumbral Whispers
04. Temples Beyond The Shoreline


Now that spring is approaching us again with flowers in bloom and birds singing, Fen from the ever-so-rainy United Kingdom deliver us their new album, called Winter. A little late maybe? However, every season is a good season for atmospheric black metal and therefore we shall not hesitate to take a closer look.

Winter brings us six new songs with a whopping total playing time of 75 minutes, so better sit down and treat yourself well while enjoying this one. Throughout the album a typical atmospheric black metal sound together with some strong post-metal influences is maintained; from eerie soundscapes to intense and roaring stuff there is quite a bunch of styles to witness, yet in a very consistent way. Fen's biggest advantage seems to be their authenticity; the performance is very much aligned with the mood they deliver with their music, so one thinks they truly express how they feel in real life, and this makes it easy for the listener to get dragged into these somber atmospheres.

As all songs are quite extended, it is still rather hard to keep the music in the head after it has stopped. This unfortunately also comes from a lack of outstanding moments, like, for example, in "II (Penance)" during the crushing vocal part "All shall fall, all shall fail!" in remembrance of Immortal's last album, or during the very last seconds of "VI (Sight)", where the real climax of the album is reached. While we're at it, I should mention that the vocals are probably the best part on Winter, as they deliver most of the feeling with their versatility.

The sound of the album is good, but could be a bit punchier in some instrumental parts, like during that nice bass line in the second song (you'll know what I mean when you listen to it). A big issue still is the overall length, as most songs sound similar and if you don't focus on the music it just keeps lapping in the background. This is the essential problem of many lengthy albums, which I tried to explain in my last review; it makes it very hard for the listener to come back to it and really "work" his way through the songs.

Overall, Fen deliver an authentic and very atmospheric album that could at times be more punchy and suffers a bit from its own length, yet fans of the genre will find their way to enjoy this piece of music. A personal favorite track would be "III (Fear)", which definitely has the coolest guitar parts and gathers all positive attributes of Winter. The last praise, however, has to go to the incredible cover artwork, which will definitely be a candidate for the next Metal Storm Awards.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 7


 



Written on 29.03.2017 by "The future is not guaranteed, all we have is today.
And Today, we have Metal." - Karl Sanders


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 158 users
29.03.2017 - 11:32
Kuroboshi
Good review, although I rated it much higher, I agree with most of what you say.

"As all songs are quite extended, it is still rather hard to keep the music in the head after it has stopped."
^ has always been the problem for me with Fen, and with most post-black bands.
It didn't stick in my head, but it was a super-enjoyable listen for me.
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29.03.2017 - 12:41
musclassia
Yeah, I'd rate it higher but I think it's a very fair review. It is extremely long and not all that memorable for the length, but still generally a very enjoyable listen throughout. Still think Carrion Skies is a cut above it
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29.03.2017 - 19:34
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Agree that the album suffers from being lengthy. I would have been a bit harsher though, as I didn't really find any standout moments to latch onto. Very average album in my opinion.
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31.03.2017 - 22:07
Bad English
Masterchief
If BVM is inspired and all about nature as Fen is then its good in every season even in hot summer day, Nordic people know what I mean, no music in tropical beach ... well I like this band and album, nice words, a bit DerRoz way
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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02.04.2017 - 10:07
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl
"Now that spring is approaching us again with flowers in bloom and birds singing, Fen from the ever-so-rainy United Kingdom deliver us their new album, called Winter. A little late maybe?"
Maybe they're marketing towards us in the southern hemisphere?
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Mum - 21/10/1955 - 19/6/2015. R.I.P.

"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
"Thinking quickly, Dave constructs a homemade megaphone using only some string, a squirrel and a megaphone."
Sharks 2016 Premier
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02.04.2017 - 11:15
Windrider
Raureif
Written by M C Vice on 02.04.2017 at 10:07

"Now that spring is approaching us again with flowers in bloom and birds singing, Fen from the ever-so-rainy United Kingdom deliver us their new album, called Winter. A little late maybe?"
Maybe they're marketing towards us in the southern hemisphere?

I actually wanted to add that, but then dropped it again to see who will notice first. Congrats!
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03.04.2017 - 00:02
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Holy fuck is this sound stripped down to bare-bones atmospheric black metal. As elementary as it could get. As far away from Dustwalker as possible. I spun it once, not sure if I like the direction. Of course me being the biggest Fen apologist in the world I will surely give it more time. Excellent review and thanks.
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rekt
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14.04.2017 - 20:16
nikarg
doktor avalanche
It's really rare that an album this long justifies its running time and Winter is no exception. Some very good ideas and beautiful atmosphere, but really dragging on in a way that makes me hesitant to play it more than 4-5 times. Shame because there is a lot of potential in it. Very good review.
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