Fen combine atmospheric, progressive and post-black metal into their beguiling music. Taking the appropriate elements of each and using them to suit their own purposes, the music on Winter is expansive and full of dark vision.
With a length of over 75 minutes divided into 6 tracks, there’s a lot of material here to absorb and savour. Fen are ambitious for their art, but thankfully they back this up with real skill and talent.
These songs are richly textured and layered with all manner of nuance and subtlety. Post-rock and progressive stylings merge effortlessly into blackened aggression and dark atmospheres. These transitions are seamless, when they occur at all; frequently they are merged together wholesale, so there’s no transition as such, just one holistic approach to blackened music.
In order to survive in as cold an environment as the frozen wastelands of Winter, the music has had to harden itself accordingly. Despite this, and despite the music’s frozen heart, there is still a lot of warmth to some of the playing. After all, Fen is a living, breathing creature, and so is its music. I love the playing on this album. All of the instruments are performed with a nuanced simplicity that can sometimes hide the actual complexity of some of the parts.
The moods and feelings that are conjured up over the long playing time of this album are enthralling and transport the listener away from the everyday. I often opine that I love an album that feels like a journey; Winter is definitely one such release.
A mature and emotive release, this is multifaceted music that takes black metal’s cold core and expands upon it, creating a progressive darkness that spreads out over everything it touches. There’s so much hidden within these shadows that it’s very easy to lose yourself in them. When you do, there’s no coming back, but you won’t want to anyway, so alluring is Winter.
This is atmospheric and progressive black metal at its very best. Fen’s fifth album is an absolute winner.