Fen
The Malediction Fields


3.0
good

Review

by HSThomas USER (33 Reviews)
June 6th, 2010 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ah, winter and epic journeys... seen it all before.

In these days and times black metal has become a rather stagnant genre. Great acts like Ulver turn away from their roots, others such as Agalloch only release sporadically while other such bands like Dark Funeral descend into cliché and usually disband because the vocalist has been decapitated (or any other form of gruesome death). So where does Fen fit in with the ever expanding catalogue?

Well it is a rather tough question. On first impressions the music is of a black metal/ folk metal style. However the further into the album the listener picks up on the great level of ambience used within the song structures pointing to a more Totalselfhatred and Wolves In The Throne Room influence. The album is an amalgam of these two styles but it never adds anything new to these styles. The instrumentation is the same standard upon other albums of the genre. The lyrics are equally disconcerting with the already explored genres of long journeys, loss and nature. The band crosses the same ground laid by their forebearers but it stays in that comfort zone. It isn't totally a band thing as the album is very accessible because of it but it does leave the impression that the band were not taking risks.

Thankfully the variance and experimentation within the songwriting is far better. They attempted to break the quite rigid song structures that were present within Bergtatt. Whereas Ulver made distinctions between folk acoustic and black acoustic, Fen attempted to pull apart that rigidity through the use of ambience. The bridge of ambience allows for smooth tempo changes and flexible song writing. It yields some interesting and beautiful results. Beneath The Waves keeps a relaxed atmosphere throughout with the long, ambient keys. The atmosphere is ceaseless even when the vocals change from mournfal cleans to a lizard like rasp and the introduction of the electric guitars. The song is rounded off with a beautiful keyboard solo that fully completes it in nearly everyway possible

That said though there are times when the attempt to create an atmosphere of vast, windswept landscapes becomes smothered by the unbalanced nature of the musical layers. As Buried Spirits Stir and The Warren suffer from this with overbearing acoustic guitars, cymbles (particularly these) and ambient solos all in different sections of the song. The overbearing nature reduces everything to a distortion, a cacophonous fuzz of instruments. It is not so bad you cannot hear the instruments but it still lacks a level of precision, the cymbles being a particular issue since, nine times of ten, they drown out every other instrument apart from the vocals. This level of thoughlessness also extends to the song writing. For instance the intro of The Warren is simply a five-minute acoustic bridge. It is thanks to this that it renders this song near null-void. Smaller moments of error or misjudgement occasionally rear their heads with the vocals being out of tune within smaller moments such as short passage within Beneath The Waves. However the music flourishes in the smaller touches, little moments such as the adding of piano keys onto to the end of the guitars and the use of the little tremolo riffs that raise their head above the parapet within Lashed By Storm. It's that level of detail that helps make this an unoriginal but satisfying listen from a band who display potential but need to take a step into the danger zone with their next release.



Recent reviews by this author
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Love is a StreamJames Murphy Convergence
Morser 10,000 Bad Guys DeadHelmet Meantime
Secede Bye Bye Gridlock TrafficIntegrity Systems Overload
user ratings (118)
Chart.
3.6
great
related reviews

Dustwalker

Epoch
recommended by reviewer
Ulver Bergtatt

Comments:Add a Comment 
Foxhound
June 6th 2010


4570 Comments


Really good review. I like the word 'amalgam'.

Foxhound
June 6th 2010


4570 Comments


I don't post good reviews :O

but my one for Decemberunderground is my favorite.

Bleekill
June 6th 2010


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, not a bad album but nothing amazing. Some of the clean vocals seemed weak to me. I haven't really listened to this album in a long time, it was kind of forgettable.

BallsToTheWall
June 6th 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. I used to love this alot then.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

kount
June 6th 2010


1279 Comments


cuz snooz

lobby
June 6th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i like this more than you, good review...

BallsToTheWall
June 6th 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My initial response was HOLY FUCKING SHIT MAN!!!! THIS IS BANGING. Then after awhile it struck me as only decent.

Yazz_Flute
June 6th 2010


18871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah what balls said

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010


19043 Comments


I like this band.

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2

BallsToTheWall
June 6th 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Swapping between this and MTV MOVIE AWARDS SO I CANT OFFER ANY ADVICE RIGHT NOW.

There are better bands that do this Agallochy metal stuff. Check out Finnr's Cane, Falls Of Rauros.

Hawks
June 6th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've been waiting for someone to review this. I disagree with the rating, but good review.

Hawks
June 6th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well dude I'm not the person to ask for advice on a review lol. As for my favorite track I would probably say Lashed By Storm.

Yazz_Flute
June 6th 2010


18871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There are better bands that do this Agallochy metal stuff


Agalloch for one.

I didn't throughly read the review yet but on a skim it read nicely, perhaps a bit colloquial at times.

TheSpirit
June 6th 2010


18001 Comments


I always thought this had a review. I haven't listen to this album is awhile, I don't remember if i like or not

Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've been extremely hesitant to check this band out and I don't really know why. I've heard them compared to Agalloch many times which definitely has me interested but for some weird reason I keep thinking this is going to be disappointing.

TheSpirit
June 6th 2010


18001 Comments


If I remember correctly I wasn't a huge fan of the vocals

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

To Crysis; I would check this out. It is right up your street.

Alright, I'm downloading this right now. I'll post back later after I've listened to it.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

After a quick read

On first impressions upon Exile's Journey the music is of a black metal/ folk metal combination in the vein of Ulver's Bergtatt.

This sentence is very wordy and reads awkwardly. Say what you want to say, don't work your way around it with unnecessary words.

However the further into the album the listener picks up on the great level of ambience used within the song structures pointing to a more Totalselfhatred and Wolves In The Throne Room influence.

Same thing.

Of course that is not a totally band thing as the album

Did you mean to say "bad"?

the cyllables being a particular issue since

cyllables?

The review is good, however I think you use the comparisons to other bands as a crutch. You put it alongside with albums like Bergtatt and seem disappointed because it doesn't live up to it, which shouldn't be the case because this is a different band and they may have been going with their own thing. Also, some of your sentences seem abrupt and disjointed and sometimes have grammar issues. Just do a thorough proofread and everything should be ok.

Zion
June 6th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Crysis - I checked this band out due to the Agalloch comparisons, and was only mildly disappointed. It's pretty decent stuff.

rasputin
June 7th 2010


14555 Comments


album is zzz



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy