For those who may have missed it the first time around when it was released as a split album with Sleepwalker’s Call of Ashes II, you will now have the opportunity to own Fen’s Stone and Sea EP – due to be released on a limited edition 180 gramme vinyl pressing on March 8th via Eisenwald, along with revised artwork. At this moment in time, Fen have released their back catalog on limited edition colored vinyl which will no doubt sell out soon – and become very popular among extreme metal enthusiasts. Intriguingly, this release of Stone and Sea has been remastered and mixed specifically for vinyl by Greg Chandler of Esoteric – which will no doubt be a delight for extreme metal audiophiles.
Originally, the split album release with Sleepwalker was an intriguing piece of work in its own right – releasing tracks that has a sound that harks back to their earlier material, but at the same time with an air of maturity that the band have slowly cultivated over time. In their words, the lads in Fen recorded these session as “Something for themselves” in a burst of creativity as a self contained piece of work as a means of escape from their usual album cycle and writing. In comparison to their previous releases ‘Dustwalker’ and ‘Carrion Skies’, the tracks are a deeply emotive and almost Pink Floyd-ian in nature; the starting track ‘Tides of Glass’ is borderline psychedelic rock with introductory vocals that remind the listener of Dave Gilmour, which leads onto mountainous guitar riffs mixed with growled and clean vocals building up a captivating sense of atmosphere; in accordance with the EP’s sonic theme as a tribute to the crumbling coastlines of Eastern England – this track in particular representing the storms. ‘Stone and Sea’ is like black metal’s answer to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’, the gentle cymbal crashes evoke images of gently rushing waves in the mind’s eye of the listener, with gentle acoustic guitars building upwards into a climax as the track segues perfectly into ‘The Last Gravestone’. The ending track builds up with the charging riffs that are typical of Fen’s earlier works, with this peace in particular acting as the contrasting darkness to the light of the previous track that integrates seamlessly as a collective whole.
To conclude, Stone and Sea retrospectively acts as a stop gap between Carrion Skies and the Winter album – almost as a bridge between the two releases, showcasing perfectly how the band has progressed and grown as musicians. As a result, this release looks at the past and where they have come from, to what they have become – with eyes locked onto the future as a target. We can only hope that Fen prosper and continue, and we look forward to their future and what is up their collective sleeves.