Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fen - "Dustwalker" CD

Progressive black metal with psychedelic and post-rock touches

I'm sure that "tried & true" traditional black metal still has it's audience, but increasingly, bands are looking to move beyond this now-stereotyped, even over-done style. British act Fen are one of those groups who transcend the genre, while remaining rooted in it.

"Dustwalker" begins with the darkly atmospheric black metal of "Consequence". The second track, however, "Hands Of Dust", enters an entirely different arena, with moody, droning guitars alongside the feral black metal vocals. It seems Fen are straddling and blurring the lines dividing traditional black metal and what's been termed "post-rock". "Spectre" is even more tuneful, sounding like an old English folk song ala Syd Barrett. The track branches out into a spacious, post-Pink Floyd cosmic trip, even. "Wolf Sun" brings it back into a more heavy rock-based realm, returning with the blackened vocals and a straightforward guitar-and-drums orientation. The 13-minute closer, "Walking The Crowpath", meanders from Nephilim-style darkness to progressive melodic rock, and tends to get bogged down in it's own miasma. 

Nonetheless,"Dustwalker" is a strong album and definitely a fresh direction. 

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