FEN — Epoch (review)

FEN — Epoch album cover Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
I'm a big fen!

Fen got themselves a new fanatic. I haven't been so excited about an extreme metal band since discovering Opeth back in 2005! The music these guys play is absolutely haunting, beautiful and intriguing extreme metal, deeply rooted in the black side of the genre. Did I mention that black metal is not really my cup of tea?

When it comes to mixing styles I consider myself quite a picky person. I hate bands that clumsily combine different genres, creating an inconsistent medley. However, Fen mixed all elements with such talent and intuition that I just couldn't be dissatisfied. Obviously, the core of the whole is black metal, but what Fen has built on that foundation is a pure bliss. EPOCH is a fascinating journey where black metal savagery meets psychedelic and wistful sounds of shoegaze seasoned with post rock lightness and dreamy atmosphere of foggy wilderness. The music is emotional and bleak but you won't find any cheap or imitative tricks used to achieve the result. Everything stays in balance, just like in nature. Softness and harshness merge in one consistent and unique piece of art. There's originality of riffs and progression of rhythms but with ambiance in the foreground; there's fury and rawness of black metal with genuine passion being of prime importance. Really, in terms of creating unique and moving harmonies Fen are the Opeth of black metal.

There's one thing that gets on my nerves when I listen to typical atmospheric black metal band - that is monotony. Lengthy and unimaginative passages that cause impatience at best and boredom at worst. I was all the more surprised when I realized that I didn't get bored, not even once, while listening to EPOCH. I sat, speechless with wonder, listening to heart rending final of "Carrier of Echoes", evocative "Ghosts of the Flood" and haunting "The Gibbet Elms".
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