Fen
Ancient Sorrow


4.0
excellent

Review

by TheNemeton91 USER (12 Reviews)
March 12th, 2017 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 1 - Centuries Of Solitude

"I close my eyes and drift away..."

Welcome to the earthen splendor of "Ancient Sorrow", Fen's first official release. Recorded in the summer of 2006, and released over a year later in the autumn of 2007. I've searched my mind and heart for the most appropriate adjective that captures the essence of Fen's overarching sound and spirit, and, in truth, the word itself isn't even in the English language. "Hiraeth", to which there is no direct English translation, is a beautiful Welsh word that refers to a very specific emotional phenomena - in essence it is a longing, a mourning, or an abstract homesickness for a perceived past time, state of being, or home. In Wales this refers to the wistful emotions associated with a cultural longing for the poetic Welsh past. (As if the EP's own title wasn't clear enough!) Fen's entire ethos unmistakably exudes this quality: a vague yearning for, and mournful eulogy of a perceived past, through the eyes of mortal men, animals, and the enduring impersonal perspective of the passing of time - so beautifully captured in the vocalist and guitarist's alias, "The Watcher".

"I watch the Crows drift across lightless skies..."

More to the point, with three robust tracks, clocking in at twenty-eight minutes in length, the scope of this EP and the depth and atmosphere of its content is rather substantial. Ancient Sorrow's highlights are strikingly resonant and lasting for such a young band's premiere, like few things I've heard before or since. Arriving in confidence,"Desolation Embraced" imposes it's reverberating warmth and cavernous howls upon bleak marshy landscapes (further explored in "The Malediction Fields"), climaxing in a memorable midsection, and finally winding back up it's earthen roads, returning home.

"The Gales Scream of Loss" pierces the air with a grave, mournful chill; it's humming, searing riffs and rousing keys paint a vast and reflective atmosphere, gradually forming a hypnotic hold over the listener. The song builds so effectively that the four minutes absent of vocals feel brief and engrossing, and three quarters through the experience, the howling wail of The Watcher will send chills down your spine. Immersive, pensive, lamenting, and bordering on emotionally exhausting, Gales is sincerely one of my favourite songs of the 2000s, and endures as a staple of the band's live setlist. By contrast, the final foreboding offering explodes with an abrasive and tumultuous edge, serving as the longest song on this outing, though doesn't keep pace with the captivating prior two tracks.

To be frank, I never expect to be blown away by an EP. EP's are typically a transitional splurge of leftover or experimental ideas bands have in between proper releases (or sometimes, in the case of this release, they're simply abridged albums). Nevertheless, Ancient Sorrow not only earns an identity of its own amidst Fen's wonderful discography, to be entirely blunt, the first two tracks are as strong, or stronger than anything from their full length debut, and some of the group's finest work to date. In summation, this EP is a compelling debut and standard to set, sowing the seeds of Fen's sound we would see blossom on future releases. Ostensibly, if not for the final track, which is neither deeply moving nor intolerable, this release would be as close to the mark of relative, thematic perfection as one could expect. The first two tracks are a "100%" experience. Needless to say, a strong recommendation and a promising outset from an exceptional group, and one of my personal favourite EPs of all time.

Recommended Tracks:
The Gales Scream of Loss
Desolation Embraced



Recent reviews by this author
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Fen/Sleepwalker Call of Ashes II/Stone and SeaFen/De Arma Towards the Shores of the End
user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MrSirLordGentleman
March 12th 2017


12400 Comments


One review per day

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was unaware of this at the time, apologies. I've been told on another review as well, and it will not happen again.

MrSirLordGentleman
March 12th 2017


12400 Comments


don't worry, it's a normal mistake in new users

review's well written and that's what matters after all, so have a pos!

FullOfSounds
March 12th 2017


15771 Comments


Pos. just getting into these guys with the new one

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Many thanks, and again, I'll be sure not to multipost!



Cheers, lads. :3

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

FullOfSounds - Recommendations for newcomers, from each release:

Ancient Sorrow - Desolation Embraced, The Gales Scream Of Loss

Malediction Fields - Colossal Voids, The Warren

Towards The Shores Of The End - Towards The Shore Of The End, Ageless Threnody

Epoch - Ghosts Of The Flood, A Waning Solace

Dustwalker - Hands Of Dust, Spectre, Consequence

Carrion Skies - Basically everything

Winter: Pathway, Fear, Sight, Keening Soils

FullOfSounds
March 12th 2017


15771 Comments


Gotcha man, thanks ;0

AsleepInTheBack
March 12th 2017


5955 Comments


Sweet review(s) man, welcome to the site

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, mate. It's an honour to be here :3

Snake.
March 12th 2017


21585 Comments


one review of some shitty nazi metal band per day

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm aware, and addressed this on all my reviews. I'm a newer user. Also, nazi metal!? You've clearly never heard this group, or looked at their lyrics.

Evok
March 12th 2017


7677 Comments


Damn son you got the words!!! Sweet review. Dont mind Snake, that one likes to troll. Usually pretty hilarious tho.

Sup Snake?

Digging: Phentix - Tools

Snake.
March 12th 2017


21585 Comments


i'm good u?

Maco097
March 12th 2017


2999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Still their best.

TheNemeton91
March 12th 2017


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks again, Evokaphile! I've got all of Fen's primary discography up atm, and over the next couple days I'll be releasing their two splits.



It's excellent for sure, Maco. :3



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