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Fen's Dustwalker has sadly remained an unnoticed masterpiece, overshadowed and superimposed upon by many an albums of inferior rank and range. And where numerous releases have indeed earned their reputation and attention rightfully, they still remain subordinated and subjected to this magnificent monolith of acoustic, post-rock passages interwoven and juxtaposed with sections of aggression and anguish, with crescendos and culminations of supreme , sublime beauty. An obligatory, inescapable listen to any respectable art lover.
The groundwork laid on two previous releases provides a steady and sturdy substrate of both riffs and overall compositional rhetoric, and whereas some sections entirely escape the definition and conception of metal in general, being constructed entirely of isolated chords, keyboard sections emanating soothing, soporific notations, very prominent and perceptible bass juggling, and, naturally for such a conglomeration of styles. dual, or better yet multiple contrasting vocals , alternating and differentiating between a very coarse and crude mid-pitch growled rasp,and more dreamy whisper, to some manly cleans and some very calm, serene recitals. Indeed, the vocal aspect is one of the most readily recognizable here,as it deviates from any particular modern norm in metal, drawing upon numerous disparate and divergent techniques, textures and tactics of delivery. The production is organic and rich, as it allows all the timbre to shine through, and is only polished enough to allow all the layers of instrumentation and vocalization liberal and lavish participation in the construction and continuation of the musical idea.
And do they do precisely that. Riffs are unpredictable,having very catchy grooves about them, erupting unexpectedly but seamlessly into more explosive and eccentric moments and episodes, only to metamorphosize once more into eerie, entropic actualizations. There is an opulence and affluence of riffs throughout, and tracks that in my view particularly provide for this generosity in riffing are „Consequence“, „Wolf Sun“ and „Walking the Crowpath“. And as splenetic and erratic some rhythmic deviations appear to be, there is a definite underlying sense of direction and discipline anchoring them to the central, cyclic focus of the album: one of Nature, and human inseparability from it.
When one calls an album associated with black metal uncompromising, this immediately imprints ideas of unabashed savagery and Satanic abhorrence into the mind of the reader, but here it is a case of pure aesthetic vision, of an unadulterated, accomplished saga for the realization of a mental concept. The entire composition exudes professionalism, proactivity and prestidigitation rarely encountered at such magnitude and mastership, and is only to be commended and recommended. 9,5/10