Showing posts with label fen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fen. Show all posts

Saturday, January 6, 2018

the top 25 best albums of 2017 (VIDEO)

Well, nearly forgot about this one... but not to worry, it's still here. Enjoy!

Next up, the debut of The Trailing Edge - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2017

Of all the years I've put together year-end lists for albums, this might be the hardest it's been - and believe it or not, it's for the best possible reason: I covered an abundance of incredible music in 2017, arguably more than I ever have before! Even though I didn't give out any perfect scores, this year showed multiple genres giving us the goods, from a revitalized rock scene to several country gems to underground hip-hop making a major resurgence to pop putting forward its best showing in years - and that's not even getting to the genre-defying oddities that utterly blew my mind!

But what this also meant were cuts... in a year where I could put together a top 50 and still feel like I'm leaving stuff off, this was particularly brutal. Once again, I was very tempted to expand this list, but again, I'm highlighting the best of the best, and that means while these could have made it in a weaker year, for 2017 they didn't cut it. I won't deny that hip-hop got hit hard in this, as I really wanted to include records from Quelle Chris, Jay-Z, milo, Armand Hammer, Tyler the Creator, Rapsody, Yelawolf, and yes, Kendrick Lamar on this list and I can't. And queue the outrage by everyone that DAMN. is not making this list, but considering there are  five hip-hop records that beat him out to get here, there isn't room for complaining. And I don't want to hear anything from the indie set either than Father John Misty, Kirin J. Callinan, Spoon, The xx, St. Vincent, and Alvvays missed the cut too - all great records, to be sure, but not quite good or consistent enough. Honestly, the most painful cuts for me came in rock - where Creeper, Chelsea Wolfe, and Ayreon all missed it - and especially country, where Natalie Hemby, Angaleena Presley, Dori Freeman and Chris Stapleton all didn't make it - again, great albums, but limited slots. Finally, we have three records that would have sparked controversy had they landed on the list so there is a part of me they just missed the cut: Jhene Aiko, Brand New, and Niall Horan - although there is another part of me that would love to see everyone's expression if Niall made my year end list and Kendrick didn't.

But again, those are my Honourable Mentions... and now onto the list proper.

Friday, June 30, 2017

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2017 (VIDEO)

And there is THAT weight off my shoulder. Whew, ton of work to get that out... and yet it's not over, as I've got another special video dropping soon, so stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2017

There have been a lot of people who have said that 2017 has not been a good year for music, on the charts or otherwise... and from a certain point of view I can see it. Hip-hop in particular has had a really rough past few months, and between pop stars flopping, mainstream country continuing to spiral, and entirely too many records from established acts not living up to their potential, indie or mainstream, I can see why people are calling 2017 a disappointment.

I can also say that I don't buy it for a second, because for me, 2017 has been awesome. I already have plenty of songs to line my list of the best hits, and going into this point at the midyear, I have more records that I've scored 9/10 than ever before. Granted, it also seems like one of those years where the critical darlings aren't quite crossing over in the same way, and if you haven't heard of most of my favourites, that would be why - and that's not even counting the stuff I had to cut, and man, there were a few rough choices there. I think part of this comes from Patreon helping to shape my requests - once the scheduling got figured out as part of this experiment, things began to click and I started covering a lot of stuff I really loved. 

So you all know the drill by this point: twelve albums in order - an order that could shuffle by the end of 2017 - twenty-four songs in chronological order of my reviewing them (yes, I'm expanding the list, it's that kind of year), and keep in mind that if they don't make this list they've still got a real shot for the list at the end of the year, so let's get this started with...

Monday, April 10, 2017

video review: 'winter' by fen

So I'm actually stunned this went over as well as it did - and not just the review, I'm actually pretty damn proud of how the thumbnail turned out for my first real try at photoshop. 

But it won't be my last tonight, so stay tuned!

album review: 'winter' by fen

You know, at some point I'm going to just admit I'm not sure where to look when it comes to finding consistent black metal recommendations. I mean, I try to keep my ear to the ground, but for multiple years in a row now I feel like whenever I find a record that's more on the atmospheric side of the genre it's damn near a miracle, and thus wind up covering a lot less than I'd otherwise like. 

But in this case it looks like I'm not quite as behind as expected - and I was a little stunned how many Patreon votes this got once I added it - so let's talk about Fen. They're an English black metal act that started in the mid-2000s, straddling the line with progressive metal and post-rock and drawing more than a few comparisons to Wolves In The Throne Room and Agalloch. They play on the more nakedly melancholic side of the spectrum in comparison with the soaring power of acts like Saor or Panopticon, more moody and bleak, but there's different shades of that, some that get into thicker, muddier textures that seethe off of subtle rumblings of bass, while later cuts on records like Carrion Skies get a little more ethereal and spacious, looking to pull the listener deeper into the seething darkness. That's not saying they're all atmospherics - Fen is certainly capable of ramping up the riffs - but in revisiting their back catalog I did find myself wishing a little that they would crank up the texture or intensity a bit to match their frontman's distinctive howl, maybe push the dynamics a little harder. Still, that's nitpicking across four pretty distinct records, taking an established compositional structure and refining and expanding it with each release. And considering their production has only gotten sharper and I was in the mood for some black metal comfortable pushing into new territory, I decided to check out their newest record Winter - how is it?