Tag Archives: Fen

Winterfylleth, Fen and Necronautical live in Dynamo

This week is a busy concert week for me and I decided to add one more show to the schedule when Winterfylleth hit Eindhoven. On a Wednesday night in Dynamo? You bet I have to be present at that one!

So we head down to the Dynamo basement for some fine UK black metal. Now, for those that are not aware, UK black metal has always had a distinct flavor. Winterfylleth was among the bands featured in below-linked documentary (check it out, it’s cool). The band can be considered an integral part of the Brittish sound.


So we kick off the night with Necronautical, a relatively young band in the genre. These guys from the northwest of England play a bit of an eclectic kind of black metal. The sound is mostly solid, but combining symphonic elements, grand clean vocals with heavy and raw passages seems to sort of clash and never find that special chemistry during this live show. Specially the intense performance of their vocalist I liked. The delivery is passionate though. The band sticks it out and plays some blistering riffs, but never really manages to get the crowd on their side. These guys have potential I believe, but I feel that they need to find the right modus for that.

While waiting for Fen to set up, I had a chat with Dan Capp from Winterfylleth and Wolcensmen (which you pronounce as ‘Wol-Ken-s-men). Dan is a very friendly guy and he informed me that Wolcensmen will be playing live. If you can be there to see this (sorta this, I hear it will be different), you’re lucky. I also got that Winterfylleth was going to play work from all their albums. Excitement rising for me then.


First Fen is up and this band makes some music that really deserves praise. On record, the sound doesn’t really get the right treatment it seems, since I found them sort of hard to get into. Like when you read some heavy literature, for example, just heavy material. They play some fierce atmospheric black metal, but here and there you can detect particular Fen-isms, like a little funky bass loop or a bit of Pink Floyd-esque riffing if I may call it that. The problem arises on parts where their sound is quite dense. On those passages, three musicians are bound to have limitations in a live setting. That is clear from the switches between clean vocals and screams, but for a bit, the band is really almost losing control of their material. Still awesome though and very happy to have seen them play finally.


Winterfylleth captured me with the album ‘Divination of Antiquity’, but obviously they’d been at it for a good 6/7 years when I found out about them. Bumping into drummer Simon Lucas and singer Chris Naughton at Eindhoven Metal Meeting a few years ago was very cool. Meeting Dan Capp and bass player Nick Wallwork this time was also cool (it led to this interview). Both sing along live, to give an extra wealth and cadence to the folkish parts. Those have become an integral part of the Winterfylleth sound.

Terrible live shot by yours truly

The band live is a continuous flow of great songs and let me emphasize how I really mean flow. The black metal of this band is not hooky and harsh, but melodic and hauntingly beautiful at parts. While Naughton takes on most vocals, a lot of harsh parts are done by Wallwork. Capp focuses on the intricate guitar parts that give the music that special polished shine. Listening to the band play, I think of the landscapes on the covers. The wide, beautiful vista’s depicted there have a lot in common with the beauty of their music, it’s stretched out candor that invites the listener to dwell in it.

The set covers every album, with some particularly good old tracks dropped in to celebrate the 10 year anniversary. Though the band has obviously shifted their sound throughout those years, the set is cohesive and worked into a strong story. The magnificent drumming is not overwhelming, even not in the small basement of Dynamo, with a remarkably balanced and harmonious sound. Hearing personal favorites like ‘Whisper of Elements’ totally makes my night worth it. When we toast to 10 years I did get myself a beer as a little token of respect, because this band nails it every time. Closing the set with a mighty display of force.

A remarkable night with black metal that sounds just perfect to me. Thanks, guys, congrats on 10 years and onward to the next 10 I would say.


Underground Sounds: Fen – Winter

Label:Code666 Records
Band: Fen
Origin: United Kingdom

On Winter the band Fen is trying to really create a record that expresses their identity as a band. This is one of the reasons why this record turns out as the great piece of music it is. Perhaps the best record Fen has made this far, though that is always a matter of taste.

The story on ‘Winter’ is that of the season, as told through atmospheric black metal. That immediately sounds like a match made in heaven. Throwing different styles in the mix, the Britons have crafted a great fifth album in that English tradition. Intrigued about the name, I wanted to mention that the group is named after a region called ‘The Fens’, a flat land full of bogs and marshes with a sense of mystery. That is also something that is put in the music.

The album opens with a slow piece of music, titled ‘Pathway’, which is expressing the atmospheric postrock influences the band wishes to display on this album. Creating a long and slow build-up, the track really allows you to slide into the album gradually. Once the vocals kick in, you’re already under its spell. Peculiar is how gentle the music is at this point, even with the screams of vocalist Frank Allain. The band pulls of a grander sound on ‘Penance’, where mighty cascades of guitars push outward and expand their reach. For me their sound is close to that of an Agalloch, but also Island-buddies Saor comes close. There’s something to the sound that tells you of its origin.

Big parts of the record feature shoegazy, dreamy passages. In that sense, Fen really goes for the feeling more than the power. It gives a warm sound, remniscent of sunrays and the tremble in the air on a nice summer evening. The music paints in different colors and moods, working with long songs and complex meandering passages. The song ‘Internment’ for example offers a gentle, folky intro that lasts for minutes and could last forevermore for all I care. This record is one hell of an album, clocking over 70 minutes over six tracks.

This might actually be some of the best work that Fen has delivered. It’s warm and conveys an abstract image of the nature and land it comes from. Beautiful stuff.