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Fen - Epoch CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.91 | 144 ratings

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3 stars With "Epoch", Fen delivers the kind of harsh but atmospheric album that I had expected from Agalloch in 2010.

But while they are comparable to Agalloch, the band has found a sound of their own by adding elements from the British post-punk and shoegazer tradition, such as the big atmospheric synths from The Cure (Desintegration era), the Pink Floyd-derived clean guitar arpeggios from Fields of The Nephelim, and the occasional whispered shoegazer vocals, which were introduced into the Black Metal real already 16 years ago by Ulver. "Epoch" manages to conjure up a moving atmosphere drenched in melancholia, but as to the songwriting they are still dwarfed by named bands.

Because of the shoegaze vocals, the album ends somewhere halfway between the latest albums of Agalloch and Alcest. So Fen can be assured of a nice ride in their slipstream and, given the hype surrounding this type of atmospheric post-Black metal, they can expect a strong position in the 2011 year lists. Compared to Agalloch's "Marrow the Spirit", "Epoch" is an improvement on all counts. First of all they reach a higher level of musicality, mostly due to the more inventive drumming and the less cliché guitars. But also the vocals are much better, at least the growls and shrieks are, as they are much dirtier, grimier and nauseating then Agalloch's, and that's exactly how they should be.

The clean whispery vocals could still be improved a little but they aren't overused so that's ok. The songwriting is fairly good, but after a while the dreary mood of the music gets a bit too monotonous, there's not one song that really stands out neither. The production is a bit rough but that perfectly suits the music.

Fen still has some growing potential and I expect they will blow us away once they manage to make their songs more distinguishable from one another. Until that happens I'll stick with Alcest for my fix of - deep breath - atmospheric post-Black Metal with touches of post-punk and shoegaze. Nice one. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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