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Fen keeps proving more and more that they are the best metal band I've discovered in the past three years or so. That may not say much, because I haven't been getting into metal as much as I used to 5-10 years ago. However, each one of their releases, hands down, blissfully surprises and captivates me. I get hopelessly hooked on it for weeks, if not months, as if no other music existed on Earth.
I think Fen are some of the best at merging two completely different genres and making it sound easy and natural, while somehow ending up with a sound that's completely different from both genres. I'm talking about black metal and post-rock, but wait. Some metal fans hate the term post-rock, I know. I only use the term because I can't really think of anything more appropriate. I'm referring mainly to their experimental, complex, long, winding style of songs - maybe this is actually more similar to progressive rock. Seriously, while they "mix" both of those genres, it sounds like neither of them at all. Agalloch is probably the most similar band I can think of, but they really don't sound like them too much either. I guess I can hear sort of a "sludge" sound hidden in there too, like Isis and Pelican. In fact, I would say they sound much more like those bands than your traditional black metal bands like Emperor, etc.
This really is one of the most atmospheric metal albums I own without any cheesiness. I really feel like I'm on a rocky coast with waves crashing, under an ultra-gloomy, overcast sky and rain pouring down nonstop. I have a tendency to listen to Fen on rainy days, but that doesn't mean it's some ultra-depressing cheesy Goth metal or anything. The sound here is very organic, and remains very heavy despite all the atmospheric parts, which seem more like jam-session type segues at times. It's amazing what they can do with only guitars, bass, and drums; there are no keyboards here like on the past two albums, but I don't miss them. Anyway, this is easily one of the best albums of the year, and one of the best bands of the decade.