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label: Prophecy Productions
Released at: July 4, 2023
format: DIGI CD
The colour of every FEN album points towards its lyrical and musical content. For the first time in their career, the East Anglian post-black metal trio has used the colour red on the cover artwork of their seventh full-length "Monuments to Absence". FEN describe the album as an expression of anger, hopelessness and despair – anger at the desperate futility of a human species hell-bent on self-destruction. This is reflected in the decidedly harsh and black sound of "Monuments to Absence", which is undoubtedly FEN's most extreme recording to date, even though there are still moments of atmospheric glory, spatial clean sections, heaving doom, and full-blown riffs, which augment the furious expression of rage. FEN took their name from the Fens of East Anglia when the trio formed in 2006. These desolate and bleak landscapes have left a deep mark in the post-black metal sound, which the band pioneered in the UK when the English scene revitalised in the wake of forerunners FOREFATHER with bands such as FEN, WINTERFYLLETH, and WODENSTHRONE coming to the fore. When FEN released their debut full-length "The Malediction Fields" (2009), the band made good on the huge promise of their previous EP "Ancient Sorrow" (2007) by delivering a first album that already combined the black metal tradition elegantly with a dedicated atmospheric twist and gentle experimentation beyond the perceived narrow confines of their genre. With each following full-length, from "Epoch" (2011), via "Dustwalker" (2012), "Carrion Skies" (2014), "Winter" (2017) to "The Dead Light" (2019), FEN have expanded both their musical range and following, while also perfecting their recognisable and unmistakable sound. "Monuments to Absence" marks FEN's welcome return to a dark and fierce sound.
On "The Dead Light," Fen explore the beauty that comes from destruction. Representing the vanguard of contemporary UK post black metal, the band offers its heaviest, most direct album to date. It is the sixth full-length in a career of less than 15 years and marks another recalibration for the three-piece that, while always daring to use unconventional structures, found that the predecessor "Winter" (2017) was the apex in this respect
Deluxe 12" vinyl edition feat. three overlooked tracks.
For over a decade, FEN have steadily developed into one of the most intriguing bands within the UK black metal scene. Often bracketed within the post-black and "shoegaze" movements, the London trio’s sound is actually more unique to themselves – a startling paradox of searing and aggressive paradox within a progressively daring and ambient beauty. Starting out with a pastoral form of atmospheric black metal on 2009's acclaimed debut The Malediction Fields, the trio's sound has expanded and diversified considerably across five full-length albums to embrace a number of different elements all honed and synthesized into a distinctive, yet captivating, soundscape. In late 2015, the band recorded a three-track EP, entitled Stone and Sea, which was a deliberate hearken back to their older, more explosive, sound whilst retaining the maturity the English trio had developed across the years. The intention was to record something ‘for themselves’, to escape from the album cycle for a time and work on a self-contained piece.
Recorded, produced and re-mastered specifically for vinyl by Greg Chandler (Esoteric, Lychgate, Grave Miasma, Fluisteraars), these tracks take the best aspects of post-rock and black metal and intertwine key elements of traditional folk to create a masterpiece laced with a definite touch of the "epic."
'Stone & Sea' is a tribute to the crumbling coastlines of Eastern England and the spirits that lie restless beneath the waters.
Recorded, produced and mastered specifically for vinyl by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios in Birmingham, UK. www.prioryrecordingstudios.co.uk
Artwork by Immortalpict Illustration. immortalpictillustration facebook