For over a decade, Fen have steadily developed into one of the most intriguing bands within the UK black metal scene. Often bracketed in with the ‘post’ black metal or ‘shoegaze’ black metal movements, Fen’s sound is actually unique to themselves – a startling fusion of searing, aggressive extremity, progressive daring and glacial, ambient beauty. Starting out with a pastoral form of atmospheric black metal on their acclaimed ‘The Malediction Fields’ debut from 2009, across five full-length albums Fen’s sound has expanded and diversified considerably to embrace a number of different elements all honed and synthesised into a distinctive, captivating soundscape. This culminated in the colossal ‘Winter’ album which was released in 2017.
In late 2015, the band recorded a three-track EP entitled ‘Stone and Sea’ which was a deliberate hearken back to their older sound whilst still retaining the maturity the band had developed across the years. The intention was to record something ‘for themselves’, to escape from the album cycle for a time and work on a self-contained piece.
The three tracks therefore present a conceptual narrative relating to the coastlines of Eastern England. Here, the sea claws at the landscape on a daily basis, dragging earth, houses and even churches beneath the waves. These evocative, crumbling coastlines were the inspiration for the material on this EP. Musically, ‘Stone & Sea’ delivers a more direct approach to the Fen sound whilst also incorporating elements of traditional folk music and fusing it with a definite touch of the ‘epic’. Originally released on CD as part of a split in 2016, Eisenwald now proudly present this unique recording as a limited-edition vinyl MLP. Fans of the band’s earlier works such as ‘Ancient Sorrow’ will find much to appreciate here whilst those admire the band’s more recent releases will doubtless enjoy a more immediate interpretation of the Fen sound.
1. Tides of Glass
2. Stone & Sea
3. The Last Gravestone