Review by Adam M on December 16, 2014.
Fen’s Carrion Skies is filled with powerful folk inspired metal that is of a high enough quality to compete with Primordial or Agalloch. Their brand of metal has an even greater black metal focus that might make the band more comparable to a band like Bathory at times. In terms of a more modern comparison, Fen can be likened to Woodensthrone or Winterfylleth.
These bands uphold the pure aesthetic that the black metal genre seems to maintain as something integral to its style. Thankfully, there is a dosage of melody in the band’s sound that prevents anything from ever becoming too raw. I think there are plenty of ebbs and flows to the music and most of the peaks happen when the music attempts to achieve some type of harmony. Again, the peaceful feeling that is sometimes invoked also counters a potential evilness. Still, will all the tension and mood changes, I believe there could be even further incorporation of dynamics on future albums. For every moving moment there also ones that drags down the album a bit. This is a testament to the power of the band, however, that I foresee even further growth and progress. In terms of highlights, Sentinels sticks out with plenty of memorable riffs and moods created.
The competition for this type of an album was fierce enough this year with competition from Primordial and Agalloch. Fen is able to keep up with forces like that through their own vision and style. Carrion Skies is a well-rounded and worthy album that has a strong folk influence, but has an undeniable lineage in the black metal genre. Fans of these styles should miss the album at their own peril.
Rating: 8 out of 10