FEN — Towards the Shores of the End

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FEN - Towards the Shores of the End cover
4.00 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews
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Split · 2011


1. Soilbound (8:41)
2. Ageless Thenody (8:19)
3. Towards the Shores of the End (8:28)
4. Bereft (acoustic reprise) (4:09)

5. Crimson Waters Ebbing the Shore (6:26)
6. Noemata (9:00)
7. From Horizon to Oblivion (7:13)

Total Time 52:11


- The Watcher / Guitars, Vocals
- Grungyn / Bass, Vocals
- Theutus / Drums
- Æðelwalh / Keyboards

De Arma:
- A. Petterson / Guitars, Bass, Vocals
- J. Marklund / Drums
- F. Allain / Vocals

About this release

Label: Nordvis Produktion
Release date: February 15th, 2011

Despite the different credit for each band, The Watcher and F. Allain are one and the same.

Thanks to Vehemency for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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From Horizon to Oblivion

Fen's second album, Epoch, was released a mere four days before Towards the Shores of the End, a split album with Swedish one-man-band De Arma. I consider Epoch to be one of the finest black metal albums ever created, so I went into this one with some pretty high expectations. And I wasn't disappointed. Not only is Fen's half of the album excellent, but De Arma has also surprised with some great tunes to complete this split release. If you're someone who enjoys your black metal in atmospheric and downright beautiful variants, it'd really be a shame to let this one slip by. Although Epoch may be taking the black metal world by storm right now, this surely isn't an album to be forgotten about.

The first half (or four-sevenths to be exact) of Towards the Shores of the End is from UK-based post black metal act Fen - a band that has left me speechless recently. They play a style of post black metal with epic synthesizers and unforgettable melodies - that's no exception here. The first track, "Soilbound", opens up in heavy fashion before working in beautiful synth work. Clean vocals are implemented, and a beautiful post rock section segues perfectly into the heavy outro. "Ageless Thenody" opens with tribal-like drumming and hypnotic guitar patterns before moving into a slow-paced black metal riff. The title track is my personal favorite of the album, as it's filled with unforgettable and elegant melodies. An acoustic take on "Bereft" (from their debut album) closes off the first half of the split.

Although I expected excellence from Fen's half of the split, De Arma has also left me speechless. This one man project from A. Petterson is old school black metal with ambient touches, sounding something like Hvis Lyset Tar Oss-era Burzum. If you know my tastes in black metal, that's certainly a good thing. The first song, "Crimson Waters Ebbing the Shores", is filled with blast beats, fast tremolo picking, and an atmospheric synth pattern that harkens to the classic opening track of Filosofem. Slightly out of tune clean vocals compliment the song in ways unimaginable. "Noemata" is a more atmospheric, post rock-influenced track that sounds surprisingly similar to the other band in the split. "From Horizon To Oblivion" closes out the album, and is yet another spectacular track from De Arma. I simply cannot wait until this act decides to record more music.

The production differs between Fen and De Arma's halves of the split, but I personally enjoy both. Fen's production is done similarly to Epoch - this means that you'll hear a warm, 70's-influenced sound with nods towards the early black metal scene. De Arma's sound here is much rawer, but also clear and enjoyable.


Towards the Shores of the End may not completely match the masterpiece that was Epoch, but it's an excellent split release from two top-notch black metal acts. If you like your black metal with atmosphere and beauty, Towards the Shores of the End should warrant many listens for years to come. This great split release is worth a solid 4 star rating and a warm recommendation from this humble reviewer. It's rare that you hear music so beautiful, especially from the extreme metal end of the spectrum. De Arma and Fen both have spectacular things to offer - I wouldn't want to miss it!
It hasn’t been but a couple of weeks when Fen’s second full-length Epoch was in my hearing and now it’s already time to get exposed to some more of this group’s atmospheric blending of black metal and post-rock - and I don’t complain! The other side of Towards the Shores of the End consists of De Arma, a new project of A’s, better known from Armagedda and Lönndom.

The four tracks provided by Fen deliver pretty much nothing surprising for those who are familiar with the band already: a heavy dose of melancholy and natural sound, combining the harshness of black metal and the fragile sound and song progressions of post-rock. Fen might be slightly more in-your-face on the split than on any previous recording of theirs: the war rhythms in the beginning of ”Ageless Thenody” sound for a while like a different band until the melodies kick in and ”Soilbound” has tendencies to a more chugging(-kind-of) sections. The title track builds up slowly from the beginning where only bass guitar, toms and kick drums follow a certain pattern. A lush acoustic instrumental of ”Bereft”, deriving from the debut album, is added to the package as well, and what a sweet piece of acoustic guitars, piano and minimal percussion it is.

De Arma offers a more traditional take on mesmerizing lo-fi black metal, and the three tracks could be divided into two categories: ”Crimson Waters Ebbing the Shores” and ”From Horizon to Oblivion” are clearly rooted in the sound of Armagedda where the mostly tremolo-picked riffs have a somewhat evilish tendency, not to forget the similar reverberating guitar tone, and the Lönndom esque odd clean vocals. The 9-minute centerpiece ”Noemata”, on the other hand, could pretty much be a Fen track because the sound is extremely similar, from the vocals to the melodies and overall atmosphere. Due to its identical sound in comparison to Fen, I find the track the least impressive of the whole bunch though it’s still pretty well done, no question of that.

Towards the Shores of the End presents two great bands of which the other has already received truly deserved recognition, and of which the other is still a new name that will hopefully continue in the vein of the two more original songs in the future. Definitely a recommendable purchase for any Fen lover and for fans of A’s other projects, now that Armagedda has been buried for a long while already.

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