|Post Black Metal
January 21st, 2013
Release length: 1:10:01
The production quality to Dustwalker is pretty sharp, carrying a modern digital value to it. However, the overall product is tuned rather low. The guitars carry a burdening tone that, when coupled with the cleaner chords, you’re given a very depressing atmosphere. The impressive, well ranged vocals go from a typical rhaspy wail, to a restrained scream of agony that isn’t overdone, as well as clean singing. The deep bass sounds great against the click of the bass kicks, while the rest of the kit is captured nicely as well, boasting crisp cymbals that are slightly distant, and tight snares that come through the most.
There is a good deal of variety present, but most of the time it’s rather emotional. “Consequence” wouldn’t really have you expectng that though due to the depressive touch againt catchy second wave Black Metal riffs. There’s a good deal of energy here as well, especially in the vocals that seem to match the music’s intensity perfectly. “Hands of Dust” is a very slow paced offering with plenty of clean singing against chords that can be dismal, but in some spots as though a glimmer of hope, like seeing the rays of the sun from deep under water, or trapped under a thick layer of ice as you drown, gasping for your final breath. “Walking the Crowpath” doesn’t quite have this moving a performance, but it does have a harsher section towards the end that makes going throgh it worthwhile. The energy that can be felt in the vocals, and the sinister vibe from the guitar chords is a nice change to what the rest of the album presents.
“Spectre” is a rather inriguing offering. The clean vocals with layering in some spots, such as the solo, just drips with early Rock influence from the sixties or seventies period. Unfortunately, it’s just not as moving as many others here, being a bit too generic at times, which makes the ten minute plus length hard to sit through at times. Unfortunately, this becomes an issue with others, such as “The Black Sound,” though it’s largely due to a the material being dragged along to extend its life. Then there’s “Wolf Sun,” which kicks things off with a very upbeat Rock approach, but has a very soothing chorus with lighter material and suitable singing, layering additional rhasps in the background.
The limited edition version of this album comes with a pendant, as well as the bonus track “Epilogue.” Why this song is actually not on the initial pressing is confusing since it seems to bleed seamlessly out of “Walking the Crowpath” thanks to the lower notes that kick in the second the previous cut concludes. Whatever the reason, this is a shorter instrumental that has a nice mixture of emotion and heaviness, carrying that deeper tuning along with the clean chords that become haunting at times. This makes for a perfect conclusion to the album, and one well worth laying the extra money down for a true sense of closure.
Dustwalker is a well done effort with plenty of moving pieces, ranging from hope to despair. The problem is that the band seems to put a little too much attention on the length of the songs, leaving you with passages that are just alright, dragging things out a bit too much. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen enough to make the entire release a struggle to get through. If you enjoy the Post-Black Metal style, there’s no denying that this is still an effort well worth checking out. Fen don’t let their fans down on their third effort, and Dustwalker is sure to grab new fans after just one spin.
01. Consequence – 7:56
02. Hands of Dust – 11:43
03. Spectre – 10:25
04. Reflections – 1:53
05. Wolf Sun – 10:12
06. The Black Sound – 10:12
07. Walking the Crowpath – 13:20
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10
Limited Edition Score: 8/10