Fen – Trails out of Gloom (2010)


Sometimes in our review queue some albums get lost in the mix and we don’t get to them until ‘late’. Unluckily for us we didn’t heard this majestic release from Fen (from Canada not the UK one) and now we can’t stop listening to it in order to pay attention to newer releases that need to be heard.

Before the confusion set’s in, this Canadian outfit plays Progressive Rock/Metal and it should not be mixed up with UK’s Fen (that play’s Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-rock). The first impressions we had of this CD where outstanding since the band has managed to craft 9 Progressive Rock/Metal anthems unlike many bands are able to do these days. After further listening, we can’t stop agreeing that this is surely the Progressive Rock/Metal album of the year for us as of August.

With influences of Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Opeth and Votum, this band with “Trails out of Gloom” has easily come on top of the 2010 releases of two of the previously four mentioned bands (Anathema and Votum). The band’s musicianship in crafting these 45 minutes of pure aural poetry is top notch and deserves to be heard by everybody that loves the genre.

If you love intricate guitar melodies, “Trails out of Gloom” has a plethora of melodies that will hypnotize you. The attention to small details in this release is very well addressed and everything sounds just right in the albums final mix, the vocals perfectly harmonize over the guitar melodies and the drums gently accompany the whole process.

While the vocals might be a little too whiny for us, they fit very well with the music. Songs like “Find That One” that rely on a simple musical structure, are very well adorned by the melancholic sound of the band’s vocalist. But in acoustic songs like “A Clearing” they are hardly missed since the music is just too good.

When most people read Progressive Rock they kind of freak out and think is just too slow and ‘for pussies’, well, Fen also has enough powerful riffs and solos (notably “End of the Dream”) to please fans of Progressive Metal. While the focus here is not on ‘extreme musician awesomeness’ the band does a great job in crafting well balanced songs that feature a healthy combination of musical skills and melody, never recurring to the ‘virtuoso’ category. With powerful riffs the band sounds ‘heavier’ than your average Pro Rock band.

Being the overall down-tempo feeling of the album, the usage of acoustic passages, or the melancholic vocals, Fen creates a very solid (and somewhat depressing) atmosphere with their music. We particularly love this since it has a very powerful nature to it. Since song one you will be blown away by this release and will surely find its way on your sound system more times that you would expect. Get this release and prepare to be captivated by this band’s skills.

Band: Fen Album: Trails out of Gloom
Label: Ripple Music

Release: July, 2010

Official Site myspace
Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal

Country: Canada

Rating: 91/100

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