So far English atmospheric (or “post rock” or “shoegaze” or…) black metal quartet Fen have divided underground audiences — as black metal groups fucking with templates and narrow definitions often do. If you’re unfamiliar with the quartet, the 8-minute title track from Towards The Shores Of The End, their forthcoming split EP with Swedish group De Arma, works as a great introduction. Their nationality and interest in British landscape/heritage has led to comparisons with Winterfylleth, but their spacious, plaintive approach to dark music is more akin to Agalloch (a band some detractors say they worship), Gallowbraid (a band that does worship Agalloch, successfully), Lifelover, on occasion past tourmates Negur? Bunget, and various Neige-related projects (Amesoeurs, Alcest, and especially Lantlôs). They recently released their beautifully expansive second full-length Epoch via Code666. It’s a stunner. That said, I’m not sure how the four songs on this Towards The Shores Of The End EP ended up outside that collection: It offers some of the band’s strongest material to date. All to say, 2011 should be a good year for these guys. Here’s that title track, a sort of one-stop Fen sampler.
Towards The Shores Of The End is out 2/15 via Nordvis.