Well, that was loud and intense. First time tonight to see East Anglian black metallers Fen at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, just a stones throw away from the Kentish town forum – a fantastic gig and well worth the trip to London.
Necro Deathmort were first up with electronic beats and noise laden atmospheric heavy tones of doom – a lot of noise considering there is just two of them up there on the stage. Following Necro Deathmort where the Old Corpse Road – A name presumably referring the route a corpse would take on it’s way to be buried. Delivering creative songs about oakmen and the corpse road with spoken lyrics combined with metal growls, guitars – melodic at times and at other times raging, the Old Corpse Road are a ideal support band for tonight’s headliners. Mixing black metal with British folk lore, great musicanman ship and intelligent lyrics this sort of metal is something that I more used to listening to from Scandanavian bands. If you like folklore and black metal you need to check this band out. I was suprised I hadn’t come across them before.
Fen are here tonight for the launch of their new album Epoch, and with the Malediction Fields resident on my ipod for the last year I’ve been looking forward to my first live show. The small venue is packed and dark, perfect for the occasion, and the beer on tap – a Camden bitter goes down nicely. There is nothing in their set tonight that would fit on a 7″ single I’m sure, lengthy massive compositions that take you on a journey with black metal meeting what is almost prog. Songs full of sorrow that probably average 10 minutes each transfix the audience, through moments of tension to brief moments of complete fist in the air rocking. It reminded me of Anathema who although are very different just have that ability to catch you and take you on their journey wherever the song goes. The Watcher up front mixes growls and cleaner vocals with his raging guitars, complemented by striking symphonic repetitive but complex keyboard and thundering bass.
The combination of the venue size, dark atmosphere and new innovative soundscape metal, an enthusiastic audience and the launch of Epoch made tonight feel like a great gig for metal in 2011 and one I was pleased to have attended. And, getting to shake the bands hands before the gig and coming away with a signed album adds to that – thanks to Pete a colleague from work.
And what of Epoch – well it was on sale tonight and after listening to it whilst typing out this blog I’d say it’s one of the finest new albums you could hear this year 2011. Of Wilderness and Ruin with it’s subtle guitar opening leading to slow vocals growls with progressive background tones is a instant highlight, as is Carrier of Echoes, albums like this usually grow with more listens. Mine came in limited edition packaging, full of artistic photographs from the wetlands that Fen take their name from, and only up the road from where I travelled back to tonight. My advice – give it a go – and at the time of writing the cheapest place online is Amazon at £9.93.
Fen Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/fenband
Old Corpse Road Official: http://www.oldcorpseroad.co.uk
Old Corpse Road myspace: http://www.myspace.com/oldcorpseroad
Necro Deathmort : http://www.myspace.com/necrodeathmort
Some videos from the night are available here –http://www.youtube.com/FenEpoch