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Fen - Dustwalker

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 December 2012, 4:44 PM

The enchanting damp, spots of watery sceneries, a sweltering cold air that with its might can takeover one’s breathing lungs. Maybe I was a little bit off on the last one, but I have to tell you that this place that this FEN band comes from, sounds and looks spectacular. There is nothing better than to stand outside, take a deep breath in order to let your senses get to work, let them comprehend of what is their reach. Surely these sights and tranquil surroundings can me one, or more in this trio’s case, to start writing music while heading towards the reaches of the extreme is acceptable and notable. FEN from the Fens, have been doing this since 2006, and as it seems the only way is up while tending their music the shares both Black Metal attributes, slightly of the Norse kind, swaying together with modern and vintage driven Rock and a quiet mysterious atmospheric shell to keep the temperature below zero. Hand in hand, Rock and extreme Metal demonstrates their special kind of tango, biting each other in such an elegant form. “Dustwalker”, via Code666 Records, the band’s third attempt to reach a divine harmony, persuaded me that the ongoing ambience of Black Metal has been getting stronger year after year. While not letting go of the aggression that looms over from time to time, a new entity might takeover in time.

On the other hand, and it aches me to acknowledge it, “Dustwalker” was partially mutilated by it too rough production. When the loud blasting guitars came to shove, it was a semi nightmare. I can say that same about the bass, which seemed too noisy and overbearing at times. When these occurrences happened it was like awakening into commotion of booming sounds, as always the drums were sucked in as the bass drum thundered mercilessly, growls not always on the best of terms when it comes to distinguish them knee deep in the mix. Sadly time and time again I get to stumble upon great music on display that has been moderately ruined by a sort of production that it is hard to digest, and believe me I am more of the distortion kind of guy. However here something else happened. Yes, one of those cases that virtually liked the opposite of my usual flavor.

Gladly, the the trio attributed the album with acoustic orchestrations filled chorus effects entangled with low gain licks that enhanced the mysticism surrounding the earthly and desperate kind of themes. After the moderate due of songs, the dreamy sensation began with “Spectre”, an awesome epic that took favor of the contemporary Rock essence and exploited its riches to the full. It is hard to divide the songs into musical verses because it is more than a ten minute run, so bear with the general details. This one isn’t a catchy tune; it is something for the soul. Sure it has its harsher points, but without those desperate, angered arrangements, it would have been a complete alteration of the song’s supposed meaning. Right after the fresh air of “Reflections” that really inspired me to fly to England one day only to survey the green countryside in the winter. Such a delicate form of musical touches, ambience in origin, is not so easy to muster. “Wolf Sun” is a mere masterpiece, a splendid fusion of modern Rock with 70s Progressive Rock in the vein of KING CRIMSON and RUSH. Of course not that techy, but the general feel from some of its momentous, swallowed me deeper. Surely there are the unforgiving Black Metal affiliations but those shimmer with a perfect harmony with the rocking guitars and the on changing rhythms. As the album proceeded right to its dying end of “Epilogue”, FEN didn’t leave me speechless but with a look to the future.

“Dustwalker” has tons of potential, it will make you step outside yourself to think about your environment, your natural place in the world and how negativity can take you over so fast. The epic material tended to repeat itself as if stretched to fill voids; I might add that it didn’t help. In overall, a good piece of music, well written and performed, it might be a little be hard to take it at first, but all you have to do it just listen to echoes, whether the screaming in agony or the soft touch of the clean vocals. The production didn’t add points but thankfully didn’t overrun the entire number. Take notice of this one.

3 Star Rating

1. Consequence
2. Hands of Dust
3. Spectre
4. Reflections (Instrumental)
5. Wolf Sun
6. The Black Sound
7. Walking the Crowpath
8. Epilogue 
Grungyn– Bass / Growl Vocals
Derwydd- Drums
The Watcher– Clean Vocals / Guitars/ Keyboards
Record Label: Code666 Records


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