Fen – Dustwalker (2013)

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FenDustwalker (Code666, 21 January 2013)

 

Hey, people. It’s time once again to take a little stroll back in time — all the way to last year. I am determined to finish reviewing everything on my top albums of 2013 list before the end of 2014, and with this one I’m publishing today, I’ll officially reach the halfway point! No worries, there are still over three months for me to work through the rest of these (while still somehow trying to keep up with newer stuff, too). Oh well, I’ll get there eventually (hopefully). It just gets kind of frustrating sometimes, especially when bands keep putting out newer stuff faster than I can keep up with them — as is the case with UK atmospheric/progressive black metal band Fen (not to be confused with the Canadian prog-rock band of the same name). They’ve just announced that their fourth LP Carrion Skies will be coming out this November through Code666, which is exciting news for sure, but first I need to share their awesome THIRD album Dustwalker with you!

I publicized some of the details about this album when they were first announced, nearly two years ago, and I have been really enjoying listening to it ever since it was released (about three months after that). I’d say it’s about time I got around to following up and writing about the album itself!

 

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It’s All Greek To Me: Reviews of Aenaon and Hail Spirit Noir (2014)

aenaon-extance

AenaonExtance (20 January 2014, Code666 Records)

 

Oi Magoi

Hail Spirit NoirOi Magoi (20 January 2014, Code666 Records)

 

First, a word about this article’s title: there is an equivalent expression to that idiomatic phrase in Greek — Αυτά μου φαίνονται κινέζικα — as there is in numerous other languages, which would be helpful for non-native English speakers, since in a literal translation the meaning may be lost to those readers. However, the idiom with a similar meaning in several other languages would exclude the double entendre intended by the title in English: that today I am writing about two albums by two ostensibly similar bands, who are both Greek.

Okay, with that out of the way, time to move on to some music. These two albums came out on the same day in January by Code666; each one is the second album from its respective band — Aenaon (based in the regions of Epirus and Thessaly) and Hail Spirit Noir (from Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia) — who are both firmly rooted in a black metal aesthetic, while bringing various other experimental and avant-garde elements into the mix.

 

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More Saille News…

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And here’s an update regarding the upcoming Saille album…

I just told you two weeks ago that the Belgian black metal band had pretty much wrapped up working on their second album — the follow-up to 2011’s Irreversible Decay, but now I have several more tidbits of information to disseminate to you lucky bastards!

First of all, I mentioned before that the artwork for the album’s cover was being designed by Polish landscape artist Michal Karcz. Well, that’s been completed and is now ready to be revealed to you — in fact, it’s that lovely green mountain fortress up at the top of this page.

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Coming Soon: Fen Wrapping Up Work on Third Album

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So here’s some more exciting news coming from Italian label Code666 Records: the final details are coming together for a forthcoming release by UK progressive/atmospheric black metal band Fen, which the band just finished working on — this will be their third full-length album, and also their third release through Code666.

Not only that, but Fen have also renewed their contract with the label for another three album deal!

 
Frontman The Watcher stated:

We have been happy with the way we’ve been treated by Code666 in respect of the first three albums, and were impressed by the enthusiasm that the label has always shown for Fen and the faith they have placed in us, so it was logical for us to continue a relationship that was obviously working well.

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Coming Soon: Saille Working on Sophomore Album

 
Hey, folks. Here’s some interesting Monday afternoon reading for you — there have been some new developments in the world of Belgian melodic black metal band Saille, which I will gladly share with you now.

First and foremost, the band announced that they’ve been working in Aartrijke (Belgium)’s Shumcot Studios, alongside producer Reinier Schenk, recording their second album — the follow-up to 2011’s Irreversible Decay.

Keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen commented,

When creating our new album, I did research on and was inspired by several ancient destruction rituals. The new songs are therefore darker, faster, more aggressive and create a feeling of unease.

The lyrics, written by frontman Dennie Grondelaers, explore the history of those death rites. With the drums being recorded a while ago, we’ve all got a “recording state of mind” and have a feeling we’re creating more than just songs. We’re looking forward to unleashing our creations on the audience, both on cd and live!

 
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Out Last Month: Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I

 

Ne ObliviscarisPortal of I (11 June 2012, Code666 Records)

 
How’s it going, Dear Readers? I’ve got another amazing album I would like to share with you. I’ve been so fortunate with how much good stuff I’ve been coming across lately, I only wish that I had more time to write about it all so that you could have the chance to read about it and listen to it sooner! I guess what I’m saying is, it makes me feel guilty that my brain and fingers don’t work quite as fast as my ears sometimes…

Anyway, here we have Portal of I, the (relatively) new album by the Melburnian sextet Ne Obliviscaris. I usually have a pretty good memory when it comes to my history with specific bands, but to be honest I have no idea where or when I discovered these guys. Chances are, I probably read something about them over at No Clean Singing, or possibly at The Number of the Blog, since I’ve made an awful lot of discoveries through both of those places.

Oh and by the way, for all you former TNOTB readers who have been grieving since that website was lost in cyberspace, I hope you’ve started reading Oculus Infernus, the new home of head editor and writer Grover XIII. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the new blog can be found here. (And while we’re at it, No Clean Singing is over here.)

As I was saying, sometime, somehow I came across this group of Aussies, and I found them intriguing enough to “like” them on Facebook. Fast-forward to this May, when the band invited all their fans to “International Ne Obliviscaris Sharing Day” — when they planned to reveal an advance single from their then-forthcoming new album. I wrote about that impromptu holiday, and then shared the song (“Xenoflux”). Based on previous experience I had expected it would be good, but as it turns out, it was amazing!

To make a long story short, soon after that, the album was released in Australia and New Zealand on Welkin Records, a small, independent label run by one of the band members; right around the same time it was announced that Ne Obliviscaris had signed on with Italy’s Code666 Records for the rest of the world. This made perfect sense to me, since I’ve always found that Code666 tends to work with very good — and very unique — bands. So then the album was available all over the world, and about a month later, it’s finally time for me to share this masterpiece with you.

 

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Out Today: Agruss – Morok


  

AgrussMorok (Code666 Records, 26 April 2012)

 
There seems to be a growing trend in the American Black Metal scene that revolves around combining atmospheric post-black-metal sounds with a pro-nature, anti-technology attitude. This has been discussed ad nauseam all over the internet (perhaps best exemplified here), and frankly, I don’t give a shit. This may seem like an oversimplification, and you might say I’m being too broadly dismissive, but I say to hell with all of it. That whole movement comes across (to me) as a bunch of whiny neo-hippies saying yay to peace and love and flower power, with all the conviction and determination of that whole stupid “Occupy Wall Street… Until it Starts Getting Cold Outside” slumber party that was such a big deal last year, while it was the cause du jour.

Well, here’s a review of something totally different: a band who use black metal as the medium for expressing their rage against modern technology and the destruction of nature!

How is that different, you ask? Well for starters, the band Agruss is from the town of Rivne (Рівне), Ukraine, just a short distance away from one of that country’s nuclear power plants. Furthermore, that town is only about 400km away from the town of Chornobyl (Чорнобиль), or more commonly known by its Russian name Chernobyl (Чернобыль). As you are probably aware, that town — now almost completely abandoned — was very close to the site of another Ukranian nuclear power plant, until an explosion occurred there, releasing nuclear contaminants all over the surrounding area. That disaster occurred in 1986, on the 26th of April. (See what they did there?)
 
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