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Fen – Carrion Skies Award winner

Carrion Skies
by H.P. Buttcraft at 27 October 2014, 12:51 AM

Ever since 2009, when FEN’s ‘The Malediction Fields’ was released, I think the world of heavy music was undergoing a very major - albeit overlooked- phase. There was much more experimentation with bands like FEN combining alternative rock music and black metal which, in its early years, was a very obscure and extreme music style. But FEN have once again proven themselves to be amongst the highest ranks of great progressive metal acts around currently with this 2014 release from them, ‘Carrion Skies’.

I was extremely impressed by FEN’s last album, ‘Epoch’, a record that I thought was one of the best metal records of 2011. They really came into their own on that record. I think on ‘Carrion Skies’, the band has created this universe for their idiosyncratic sound inside this dark shell that only they can fit themselves into.

Many of the haunting guitar riffs on ‘Carrion Skies’ are reminiscent of the way the songs on ‘Epoch’ were like. In a lot of ways, this record is a proper sequel to ‘Epoch’. But what’s mostly missing from ‘Epoch’ on ‘Carrion Skies’ is the moody, subtle playing of ex-keyboardist Æðelwalh. I am not sure what had caused him to leave FEN but his absence is still felt, however, which sort of adds in an eerie find right there, don’t you think? That doesn’t mean that the album is necessarily lacking because the puzzle that is ‘Carrion Skies’ maintains all of the pieces anyone needs to put it all together for themselves.

But I think the band’s United Kingdom peers WINTERFYLLETH have released the better album in 2014. That’s not saying that ‘Carrion Skies’ is a bad record because its awesome. Its comforting to hear how the band hasn’t strayed too far from their unique style of musicianship and songwriting to make ‘Carrion Skies’ make their hardcore fans and curious audiences impressed. But ‘The Divination of Antiquity’ from WINTERFYLLETH was just richer, full of more wide-spreading atmosphere and epic riffs and melodies. That’s the biggest reason why I cannot give this album from FEN a perfect score.

FEN has worked very hard to make this album darker, more atmospheric and more grandiose. You can certainly notice it in the songs featured on this album. Some great ones are “The Dying Stars”, “Gathering the Stones” & “Sentinels”. The long track lengths really slip past you before you even realize it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when you lose track of how long an atmospheric or progressive black metal song is, that’s a very good thing.

4 Star Rating

1. Our Names Written in Embers Part 1 (Beacons of War)
2. Our Names Written in Embers Part 2 (Beacons of Sorrow)
3. The Dying Stars
4. Sentinels
5. Menhir – Supplicant
6. Gathering the Stones
Grungyn – Bass, Vocals
The Watcher – Guitars, Vocals
Derwydd - Drums
Record Label: Code666 Records


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