Rating:
7.7
Fen - Dustwalker
21 January 2013


01. Consequence
02. Hands Of Dust
03. Spectre
04. Reflections
05. Wolf Sun
06. The Black Sound
07. Walking The Crowpath
08. Epilogue [special edition bonus]


When it comes to atmospheric black metal, bands had a lot more to say about it in past years as it wasn't overdone and stale as it is today. Much like any other genre, a lot of bands try to subconsciously compete and release something that makes all the difference. It's a relief that even without that competitive attitude and lack of focal awareness, satisfaction comes to those who don't care about the freshness of the material. But music fans who seek creativity are disappointed after the first listen. I'm not trying to dismiss all the efforts and all the hard work they do for making music. I'm just stating the obvious fact that not every album can be everyone's favorite.

The British outfit known as Fen have a rather eccentric approach to their music by adding post-rock elements and Dustwalker is a continuation of this formula. The first impression it gives is highly deceptive, as it opens with "Consequence", an enticing bleakness and a great opener. But it's all gonna be downwards from this point, especially for those who expect a lot more violent darkness as it expands through the post-rock territory with the rise of extreme elements on some occasions.

And from this point, I assume a lot of people would be like "Forget it, this is too generic," and "No, I don't like it all," and leave the album. It's all because of what you might expect from the album and if you're reading this, don't expect to hear an all-extreme black metal album, or the rawness of their debut album. It's varied, and it's not really a weak album. It just lacks the ability to give Fen the edge to ascend. But besides that, the production and the performance is really fine and the album doesn't sound too polished for a modern album. Technically, the album stands out as compelling, though far from groundbreaking.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Fen
Album: Dustwalker


 


written by Monolithic | 25.05.2013


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Draugen - 26.05.2013 at 14:56  
This is pretty much my opinion of the album as well. Nice review.
tea[m]ster - 26.05.2013 at 17:38  
After reading your review and the many similar comments about the album here and on other websites I realize I am in the minority of people who love this album. I actually thought of writing a review for this but it was hard for me to put into words how I feel about this album.

Atmospheric black/post black metal music has really gotten my attention in 2013 and this is the best I've heard so far. The unique aspect of this release is the diversity of songs and Fen's decision to experiment. Sure they could have made another Malediction Fields (it sounded that way during the first song) but they didn't. The huge post-rock build up of "Hands Of Dust' and the surprisingly, out of nowhere, Pink Floyd-ish 'Spectre', shows the bands willingness to go off on tangents really displays the song writing abilities of the band.

By the end of the album I really enjoyed the waves of genre blending. Lush, drawn-out, melodies blend perfectly with desolate, dark post black/shoegaze textures. I suppose the die hard fans of Fen are angry about the direction the band takes: a lot of emphasis on clean vocals, prog metal structures and let's face it their really isn't a huge amount of black metal in this release.

If I had to pick a winner for a mid-2013 AOTY this is it!
Monolithic - 26.05.2013 at 20:39  
Written by tea[m]ster on 26.05.2013 at 17:38

After reading your review and the many similar comments about the album here and on other websites I realize I am in the minority of people who love this album. I actually thought of writing a review for this but it was hard for me to put into words how I feel about this album.

Atmospheric black/post black metal music has really gotten my attention in 2013 and this is the best I've heard so far. The unique aspect of this release is the diversity of songs and Fen's decision to experiment. Sure they could have made another Malediction Fields (it sounded that way during the first song) but they didn't. The huge post-rock build up of "Hands Of Dust' and the surprisingly, out of nowhere, Pink Floyd-ish 'Spectre', shows the bands willingness to go off on tangents really displays the song writing abilities of the band.

By the end of the album I really enjoyed the waves of genre blending. Lush, drawn-out, melodies blend perfectly with desolate, dark post black/shoegaze textures. I suppose the die hard fans of Fen are angry about the direction the band takes: a lot of emphasis on clean vocals, prog metal structures and let's face it their really isn't a huge amount of black metal in this release.

If I had to pick a winner for a mid-2013 AOTY this is it!

You can count me in because I actually love the album but I just tried to write an unbiased review about it as well as not taking my personal feelings into account that much to be rather "neutral" about it. You can see the rating I gave to Dustwalker in the album's page.

Personally I think it was one of the best releases of early, mid-2013. The songs blend well if you don't build up an expectation for some sort of intensity, the quality is totally outstanding. But the lack of some indescribable edge to render it "timeless" spoils the album. It's hard to disclose what I mean by "edge" but I guess you'll get the general idea. It's very unlikely that I ever listen to the whole album after 2-3 months (Expect for "Consequence") yet I don't really think it was, in any way, a weak effort. It's just not everybody's favorite cup of tea, as proven by the amount of similar comments we both have seen so far. Thanks for reading btw.

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