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  • Dagoth_RAC

    Excellent review. Really good job describing the band’s strengths and weaknesses. I have never heard them before and I’m sure I’ll give it a listen and a chance, but I feel like I know exactly what I am getting into just from review.

    • Marc Rikmenspoel

      It’s one of those albums to which the trite phrase applies, “It’s the sort of thing you’ll enjoy, if you enjoy this sort of thing.” So, as indicated above, if you have no problem with the long songs of Moonsorrow, Arstidir Lifsins, October Falls, Caladan Brood, or similar artists, you’ll likely find something to enjoy here. I have no regrets that I bought it from Bandcamp, and will soon explore the rest of their discography.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Yo, the score and the review don’t match too well. I was expecting a higher score but I know what you mean about the length. I just listened to it for the first time today and I was seriously taken aback with how much I like it. 75 minutes or not, I was lost and enthralled in this album. For the record, my favorite track was precisely IV haha. I’ll have to explore it further, for sure.

    • At AMG a 2.5 refers to an album with enough flaws to make it a tougher listen and though I may enjoy parts or up to half of it, I can’t see returning to it in it’s entirety unless I take the strong cuts and add them to an individual playlist. Thats a fitting description of Winter unfortunately.

      • Well, I just tweeted the question to this very convincing answer.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        We’ve been getting spoiled by the recent string of 3.5’s and 4.0’s so it was a bit of tonal whiplash to see this score. But it was a very necessary one. I wish some of the other reviewers showed as much restraint as you do, Madam. This reminds me of your review of last year’s Cobalt. One which I agreed with despite enjoying the album myself.

        I may (or may not) come to the same conclusions as you after listening to Winter a few more times but so far, so good, in my view.

  • Akira Watts

    Perhaps I’m a bit of an outlier, but I never had a huge issue with albums bloating into the 60+ minute realms. And “Carrion Skies” is an album that I *do* find myself returning to quite often. Which makes me suspect that I’m going to end up rating this album a bit higher than the review. But still, while I may (or may not, depending) quibble with the 2.5, this review certainly gives me an excellent idea of what I’m in for – just seems like I’m more of a fan of bloated albums than most.

    • Marc Rikmenspoel

      I like them too, but I think I have unusual taste. I love Moonsorrow’s long songs/albums, and I’ve recently started listening to the long pieces by Arstidir Lifsins. So this Fen sounds like something I need to look into.

      • Speaking of Árstíðir Lífsins. Heljarkviða do have long songs, but only two of them. Highly recommended for those who appreciate dramatic, evocative and hypnotic pagan metal.

        • Ugo Poifol

          Seconded. Also check the song Vindsvalarmal from their split with Helrunar, their best composition so far imo.

      • Dudeguy Jones

        I love Arstidir lifsins and especially their last two song thing,

  • pfk505

    Sounds like just the type of album I’ll listen to once, enjoy modestly, and then never listen to again. Like Carrion Skies and every Fen album since Epoch. But I will listen to it and modestly enjoy it! (just as soon as I can carve out an uninterrupted hour and 20)..

  • Thatguy

    I’ve been out and about walking my own crowpath in the Tasmanian wilderness so I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but I am a Fen fanboy and I know I will rate it higher than you, Madam X. Carrion Skies remains high in my estimations and I am off to Bandcamp now to get this.

    Very thoughtful and well written review as usual though.

  • Scourge

    I have a feeling winter’s last breath in the eastern US is going to be a doozy in the next several hours.

    • Stop & Shop is out of milk… this is bad.

    • By-tor

      Definitely. It’s a frigid 55 here in Florida tonight. Good thing too because allergic to snow. Might have to turn off the AC…

  • sir_c

    Ay yes Fen, I like the Epoch album.
    Even though they have named their latest work Winter, I believe the band’s music is best enjoyed on a dreary autumn day while the rain is splashing against the windows.

    • Dudeguy Jones

      Much agreed. I actually find myself thinking of landscapes from Malazan Book of the Fallen when I listen to Fen. Not the snowy, icy landscapes, of which there are plenty, but the more pastoral and temperate of climes.

  • paulo

    You lost me at “great United States”

    • herrschobel

      that must be ironic ..yes ? no ? wait …what ?????

  • Eli Valcik

    Yeah, I’m with the Madam on this one. I picked this up on bandcamp a few weeks ago and while I did enjoy some parts I just didn’t have a desire to go back and listen to it. Solid 2.5/5.0

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Is it just me or does the band picture look (badly) photoshopped?

  • Serjien

    “it feels as though Winter is just about letting out her very last breath.”

    This made chuckle a little, knowing that we are due for a blizzard and snowfall is expected to be around 12-18 inches! That is a very long last breath!

    • Yeah, what the hell?? Stupid Smarch weather.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    I think the review was spot on, but Id nudge this closer to 3.5 territory for my own purposes. I don’t think its as good as Carrion Skies and a part of that has to do with the song lengths, but it also has to do with how my listening habits have changed.

    I had a kid. And I work from home now. I used to work in an office and listen to music all day. Now I rarely get time to listen to music the way I used to and I when I do, I find that Id rather hear more bands and albums than just one band and one album,

    So, while this has all the hallmarks of “Shit I Love”, I simply do not have that much time to sit down and listen to 75 minutes of music in an unbroken line.

    Also.. east coasters, this “snow” is lame. Its really just ice and its treacherous. Good luck out there!


    • This is largely the same problem I have.

      • Dudeguy Jones

        I do try and test the waters, so to speak. I play a bit of metal every day for her, haha… “for her”. Lets face it, its all for me.. but she’s pretty good about some of it. I feel like folk/pagan/atmospheric and post-black are okay for her. Brutal stuff, too much dissonance or stuff that has scary vocals seems to be a little much. And Im being really open minded about that. Stuff that sounds like humans screaming their heads off? OK! Stuff that sounds like demons shitting each others pants? NOPE!

        That all said, Fen is still too long and I can only get through a song or two before its time to close up shop and move on to our next activity, which naturally includes such hits as “Row Row Row Your Boat” and, everyones favorite, “All Around The Mulberry Bush”.

  • sir_c

    And while you’re at it, also give Gallowbraid’s album Ashen Eidolon a try.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Oh yes. I love that album to its core. I even… like it better than Summoning. :|

    Its true. I am also more a Malazan fan than a LotR fan. Though I love both.

    Never heard Gallowbraid though! Thanks for the nod!

  • Rupert Neethling

    Best Fen album ever and such a low rating? I just can’t agree.

  • David Mackowiak Jr.

    Your review does not at all reflect your rating. It’s well written for sure, but feels really disconnected.

  • xengineofdeathx

    I feel like this band has never really been able to recover from losing their keyboard/synth guy quality wise. They are just less interesting post Epoch.

  • jersey devil

    Just listening to this album now. Wow it is awesome. Heavier and more emotional than previous albums. The best from Fen yet.

  • Akerblogger

    It’s officially winter very soon. I’d just like to add that this album is grandeur personified. Rarely is an album able to pull me into its ‘world’ with such ease; Fen are able to do so with a few seemingly simple chord progressions and bass twangs. I’m not sure what it is – well, perhaps it’s the way they’re promoted and marketed – but they’ve always had a sort of mystical allure, less harsh and aggressive, yet not dwelling in soft atmospherics. I was listening to Exile’s Journey earlier, my favourite extreme song from Fen’s debut, and there’s a key/chord change in the song that skews every expectation and feeling. I noticed a similar one in “II”. Often drastic switches mid song do little and serve little purpose but to provide variation to dryness. Fen manage such changes with a rich and thoughtful purpose. Few bands make me truly ponder.