Wednesday, May 10, 2017
FEN - Winter review
FEN - Winter
Well first off if the title of your release is Winter and it's released in March you're kinda off. With that said let me tell ya about this British act. Years ago, at the end of the 2000s to be exact, there was this sudden rise of shoegaze influence in black metal. You had bands like ALCEST, ALTARS OF PLAGUES and FEN leading the way with this new progression into the black metal template. To be honest I liked it at first because it was just another outside influence that strengthened the genre. I liked the first albums by those bands including FEN's debut, The Malediction Fields. But it didn't last.
After the shoegazers got their feet in the door their second albums showed their true colors. Now they were shoegazer/post rock bands who were influenced by some black metal. Of course the critics in the media ate it up because they were college radio losers to start with. A bunch of hiptards clutching MY BLOODY VALENTINE and other ADD acts as if it was masturbation. My answer was a middle finger salute which is why I did not care for FEN's sophomore release Epoch in 2011 and vowed never to give them the time of day again.
Which brings us to this point, I decided to give FEN another chance because I had read some fuckin early report that the band was going back to their roots on this new one. Of course that could've meant anything but I had hoped it did mean a return to playing actual black metal with some atmospheric touches instead of boring earth fart indie crap. So the verdict here is yeah Winter is very good in fact better than I expected. First of all it is a very long album, the longest for these Brit's recorded output. The opening cut "I (Pathway)" is over seventeen minutes long. I made breakfast while it played in the background.
Winter is spread out over six long cuts taking it to slightly over an hour and fifteen minutes in playing time. Fortunately the song structures never get boring or repetitive which plenty of other bands do on similar endeavors. The title definitely captures the total vibe of the sounds which allow the imagination as well as feelings to run wild. There's harshness, solitude, dread, melancholy, numbness all well crafted in these compositions. This is the album that should've followed Malediction Fields but obviously this trio didn't have it in em yet. Now eight years later they've done it.