I've been somewhat torn over Fen on their last few albums. This newest sixth installment further illuminates the opposing forces at play and which one I prefer. The music walks the line many Blackgaze bands do, a bleak serenity and beautiful chill of nature swoons, masqueraded by swells of unearthed darkness and shadowy aggressors. The two toy with varying degrees of enchantment but ultimately the plunges into the latter are lacking in charm. The bursts of aggression, shrill vocals and pushes of pummeling loose blast beats pale in comparison to the beauty the band conjure with sorrowful melodies. It is consistently the alluring lighter moments, stretching to gorgeous oozes of shimmering acoustic guitars, that entrance with cold soil, a rooted earthly grace of mother nature. In these moments the music is king.
In a typically progressive style the songs structures have them swaying between the two and as you can imagine their is a lot of the less favorable Black Metal but it somehow gets by as those dazzling bursts of moonlight grace a darkly landscape the group forge with their music. Occasionally visited by charming chorals of heathen clean vocals, I'm to often reminded of how much a drag the shrill shouts and screams become. When not paying too much attention the general atmosphere carries it by but its upheavals of melody are really its best component and so grabbing. It leaves me with mixed feelings as the album is fine in the background but when giving it full attention its metallic half fails to match the charm of its counterpart. It does however pull of the chemistry between ends ever so well on its closing track, a fine closer.
Favorite Tracks: Witness, Nebula, Rendered In Oynx