For fans of black metal, it is commonly known that the 1990’s was a very pinnacle, iconic yet also controversial time for some of the most extreme music to have ever hit this planet. Although this country’s very own and beloved Venom were among the strong influences for the Second Wave bands (and also coining the term) the UK only had a couple of bands in a very miniscule scene (Cradle of Filth, Hecate Enthroned and Bal Sagoth being the main examples), it was acknowledged but was never fully capitalised on and there was never a scene strong enough to stand tall amongst the Norwegian and Swedish elites. Since then black metal has moved forward and gained much more creativity from the low value, muffled production which resembles the Playskool tape recorder I had when I was a youngling (joking of course) and broken more boundaries that you would think. With bands such as Winterfylleth, Ethereal, Wodensthrone, Voices, Dragged Into Sunlight and Grave Miasma, it’s really no surprise they are not only influencing more artists in this country, but around the world.
Without rambling on too much, amongst the long list of bands that could be mentioned in this review, there is no black metal band that plays with such sophistication, allure and mesmerisation the way Fen do. From their very first self titled EP which dropped in 2007, these atmospheric black metallers have continually outdone themselves time and time again, but Winter shows a band at the top of their game spawning music which I can almost describe as like a religious experience bringing such ecstasy to my ears. Released on 10th March 2017 through Code666 Records, I honestly feel Winter is among the strongest albums in UK black metal and modern day black metal as a whole, this also shows a band as their own entity but criminally underrated, I really hope people start to take more notice of what a majestic beast they are. With everything from the easily familiar yet resonating riffs, pounding drum patterns with such awe inspiring basslines, it’s no wonder why I love this band so much.
Having just dropped a rather simplistic yet incredible music video “Winter II (Penance)” this 10 minute and 6 second masterpiece shows the band doing what they do best, blowing minds and giving no bullshit. There is absolutely nothing about this band that is pretentious which only makes me respect them more; this is exactly what the black metal scene needs and it truly is a refreshing and diverse journey to go through. For those reading, if you’re a fan of bands such as Mgla, Keep of Kalessin, Batushka, Agalloch and Alcest, this is without a shadow of doubt a perfect listen. For more information on Fen please check out their Facebook page and also make sure you catch them at your nearest venue as I assure you, this band are also a perfect live experience easily matching their studio prowess.
1. I (Pathway)
2. II (Penance)
3. III (Fear)
4. IV (Interment)
5. V (Death)
6. VI (Sight)
Grungyn – bass, cries
Havenless – drums
The Watcher – voices, strings and woe