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Fen - Epoch CD (album) cover

EPOCH

Fen

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.88 | 137 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Epoch" is a Black Metal album for the ages.

It's nice seeing that, even though being still at the beginning of the year, we see so many great albums already coming to life: but I have to say that "Epoch" is simply the best so far, like many are starting to believe. In these last few years almost never Black Metal has reached these unexpected levels, and this said by a true admirer of the genre. "Epoch" is very possibly going to be the Black Metal album of the year.

Fen are an English band that released their debut in 2009, "The Malediction Fields", and have clearly evolved with "Epoch": this album is full of intensity, but also crushing beauty. Many bands have accomplished this before, but not too many at these levels; modern Atmospheric Black Metal basically at it's peak. The songs have a very complex and hard-to-follow structure, making this a very challenging album at times. The beauty that comes from these can be subtle or completely in your face, but it's always present, even in the harsher moments, which are really dense with reverb and strong, yet always distant sounding vocals, as well as powerful drums. The beauty though would have occurred less if the atmosphere and the sound weren't so full of details and precise, making it an extremely thick aura. Influences are noticeable especially from Shoegaze (Blackgaze apparently is the result) and Post-Rock.

Nature and man, of course, are the main topics for Fen, and always have been. But the lyrics on this album are very evocative in a very particular way, and give the feeling that "Epoch" was born from primordial stone, by the winds, and by the oceans. Again, the primeval attitude is not new in Black Metal, but never it was brought up with such a fierce and obscure sense of modernity at the same time, perhaps because of many Post-Rock influences floating around.

Solid as a rock, Fen range with these eight songs into various moods, without losing that enchanting aura of beauty: the title track opens the album with a very tense feeling, and explodes completely with the next song, the astonishingly brutal "Ghosts Of the Flood". "Of Wilderness And Ruin" and "The Gibbet Helms" are both very memorable and beautifully mix the harsh moments with the mellow ones. "Carrier Of Echoes" might just be the masterpiece of the band, basically the perfect song of the album, it contains all the qualities we've heard, but puts them on an even more epic level, exploring new territories and soundscapes. The second half of the album is even more complex, the songs even harder to follow because so densely rooted to the atmosphere, but just as remarkable.

"Epoch" is a Black Metal album for the ages: an instant classic for anyone who likes their BM mixed with different external elements such as Shoegaze and Post Rock.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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