Review 1787 : Fen – Monuments to Absence – English

Fen continues its journey.

Created in 2006 in England by Grungyn (bass/vocals, Crozier, Lost Legion, ex-Skaldic Curse…) and The Watcher (guitar/vocals, Fellwarden, Lost Legion, ex-Pantheïst, ex-Skaldic Curse…), the band now accompanied by JG (drums, Craven Idol, Crom Dubh, ex-Aeternum…) continues its collaboration with Prophecy Productions for the release of Monuments to Absence, its seventh album.

From the outset, Scouring Ignorance envelops us in a wave of stinging, suffocating darkness, complemented by visceral howls, but also by a haunting melodic touch which develops the contrast with the more aggressive elements. There are also some softer backing vocals and a hazy break reviving the haunting sound, leading us to Monuments to Absence and its dissonant introduction, which makes sure to welcome blast and soothing vocals. Fury soon ignites to give life to the darker, more chilling plaintive tones, but also slows down to create a heavy atmosphere before exploding again to the soaring final, before Thrall builds up his ominous harmonics. Vocals bring an element of violence to a relatively calm rhythm rooted in Pagan sounds, but the band accelerates its riffs before letting them slow down again until To Silence and Abyss we Reach reveals tearing Old School roots. The very raw approach is shaded by intense airy leads and different vocal parts, combined with jerky riffs before picking up full speed again to lead us into Truth is Futility and its steamy touches borrowed from Shoegaze, which are quickly strengthened by abrasive saturation and screams. A few larsens disturb the central break, before the rhythm slowly comes back to life, taking us all the way to Eschaton’s Gift and its heady patterns. The jerky waves give way to an ocean of darkness topped by mysterious, impressive voices, then the band allows us a brief moment of respite before Wracked sweeps us away with its motivating riffs, within which vocal parts take turns to create a complementary diversified choir. The frantic, intense final finally fades out, leaving All is Lost to conclude this chapter, first with a gentle but anguished melody, then with all the power of a haunting Black Metal that remains fairly slow before adopting more lively elements, once again testifying to its richness.

Each Fen album is unique and develops its own atmosphere. Monuments to Absence gives you the opportunity to let your mind wander for over an hour between raw energy and icy melancholy, while remaining anchored in that characteristic intensity.


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