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Fen - The Malediction Fields CD (album) cover

THE MALEDICTION FIELDS

Fen

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.13 | 53 ratings

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brotherbartholomew
5 stars Above all, I am a proghead. Believe it or not, in certain circles, I am known as the Duke of Prog. Some of my favorite bands include: early-Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Premiata Forneria Marconi, and other 70's era prog pioneers. So why, over all of the progressive rock albums released in 2009, would I choose a post-black metal album as my favorite? Because this album is not only proggy, but also more emotional and epic than anything I've heard this year.

In my mind, a key component to great music is the degree in which the sound creates a 'vibe' for the listener. By 'vibe', I mean the manner in which the music conveys a visual picture and a physical sensation manifested entirely through the atmosphere. Where the artist intentionally seeks to take the listener on a mental journey; an album that exemplifies this is Perdition City by Ulver. With The Malediction Fields, Fen produces a vibe of ancient myths, rain-swept fields, and eternal solitude that absorbed me entirely. The emotional opener, "The Exile's Journey" establishes a sense of sadness that pervades the album, allowing the listener to adopt a feeling of detachment and consequently enabling the descent into Fen's dark soundscapes. "A Witness to the Passing of Aeons", the following track, introduces the concept of seeking the forgotten gods that rule this storm-laden world, thus beginning the voyage that encompasses the remaining tracks in the album.

As the journey progresses and the listener gets closer to the confrontation with the gods, the album gets increasingly better. "Colossal Voids" starts this trend with beautiful, synth-soaked ambience spliced with brutal moments, perfectly capturing the forlorn journey. After the enjoyable, "As Buried Spirits Stir", Fen unleashes the final three and best tracks on the album. "The Warren" is a building, primarily instrumental song that climaxes into one of the most epic explosions I've heard. In "Lashed by Storm", the vibe of a maelstrom enveloping the exile as he struggles to reach the gods is physically felt; this is one of my favorites off of the album. Finally, "Bereft" concludes the album with a sense of godlessness that adequately concludes the journey on a melancholic yet up- lifting resolution.

All in all, The Malediction Fields by Fen is my top album of 2009 because of its immense and emotional vibe. The images of rain-soaked plains, the sensation of ancient sorrow, and the metaphorical expression of spiritual revelation through nature are impeccable and vast. With heavy use of synths, ethereal guitars, and a powerful rawness, Fen has managed to create a glorious and captivating journey through the twisted forest of existence.

brotherbartholomew | 5/5 |

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