Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fen "Dustwalker" (2013)


English Black Metal band Fen are a group who captivated my interest with their debut "The Malediction Fields" in 2009. Their sound stood them apart from other bands in the genre by incorporating some Post-Rock elements that gave them a range and diversity that was intriguing and progressive. The bands songs could span a range of moods and incorporate many heavy, or light and melodic moments with effortless fluency. Their sound is charactered by a strong theme of nature, the kind of cold unforgiving beauty the natural world can be without the comforts of the modern age. I saw this band live last year and was, to my surprise, rather disappointed, feeling their live show didn't capture what their recordings did.

Dustwalker failed to grab my attention at first. It wasn't until multiple listens later that I became more engaged with this record, what initially disappointed me is still quite apparent, it is fitting for the right mood, but in the wrong environment the music alone doesn't quite have the spark to captivate my attention. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between your own enjoyment of art, or the art itself. Maybe there is only the first, but on a long walk in the cold dark of night could this music reveal itself.

Rough around the edges, the albums production is straight forward and unpolished giving it a natural character, not low fidelity, but far from perfection. This plays great in melodic moments that get a hazy distortion from the instruments sharing the space together. The production sets the tone for this record that explores varied themes in long songs that progress through a dynamic range of heavy and melodic moments that are quite awe inspiring in the right mood. The vocals deliver an honest performance with clean leads that bleed the human element into these cold songs. Theres a few golden moments here and there but overall the songs do dull a little as they continually progress through mediocrity. Theres nothing terribly bad happening here, but it just falls short overall.

Favorite Tracks: Spectre, Reflections
Rating: 4/10

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