Click here for the new EP.
These songs are dedicated to the memory of Eric Rose—roommate, friend, and creative accomplice. He was around a lot when Fen was getting started. His leg appears on the cover of the first album (2000), right next to the meat creature. He painted a Fen flag to hang up during shows, and his design became the band logo. The song “Dragonflies” (2003) was called “Eric Song” before it was released, because he was drumming when the main riff was born. His maniacal laughter can be heard in the fadeout of “Cockroach Eyelids” (2006); he couldn’t laugh on demand, so with the mic in front of him, he insisted I jab my fingers into his ribs as hard as I could, while he sat in a chair like a person interrogated, in the parking lot storage room where we were recording. In the lyrics of “Summer ‘99” (2016), Eric is remembered as “a friend with head in hand,” which recalls again the photo shoot for that first Fen album: while Sam and I were in his aunt and uncle’s kitchen in Fruitvale, figuring out how to stitch together the animal parts we’d brought from Vancouver, Eric showed up at the end of the driveway with a still-warm chicken head from a neighbour’s farm, this after swearing to us days before that he wanted nothing to do with the project. Now almost six years after his death, Eric is still part of my life and my music, and I don’t think these songs will be the end of his artistic visitations. I miss him all the time.
France-based Jester Prog Blog posted a review here. One observation made by reviewer J-Yves is that though many of the songs on the Slug Comparison album are short–around 4 minutes–they go through several transformations which make them seem more developed, like an 8-10 minute song by Haken or Pain of Salvation.
Here’s a French review from NeoProg. It mentions a couple of new vocal comparisons: Marc Atkinson (not sure from which band) and John Bassett, a progressive artist from the UK who I’m going to have to listen to.
Bad Ass from France’s Rock-Station has written the first French language review of Slug Comparison, and has called Long Live the Night “le chef d’oeuvre de l’album.” In an email to me, he jokingly admitted to have listened to the song upwards of 8000 times already. That’s roughly the same number of times I listened back to the song as I was writing and recording it, so it’s great to know that someone else had been through the same experience. Read the review here.
There is a little known website in The Canary Islands that focuses purely on sad, melancholy or emotional music. These descriptors, according to the website, are “subjective and in our case strict. Unfortunately, for inclusion in InannaNaked.Com it must be emotional or melancholic for us… not for you…THERE IS ALSO EMOTIONAL AND MELANCHOLIC MUSIC WE DON’T LIKE…” Reading that, and the rest of the SELECTIVE CRITERION AND MUSICAL CONCEPT, you can imagine with how much trepidation I submitted Slug Comparison.
Well, this morning, I am pleased to say that Slug Comparison has been included in the database, the music having been deemed sufficiently sad, melancholy or emotional. Further to this, the site describes the album as “a gloomy but rich example of elegant, dark and emotional rock/prog.” Peruse the full review results here. Thanks to Hector for giving it a listen, and for keeping such a unique database going.
Sea of Tranquility (Music for the New Intellectual) has given Slug Comparison a FIVE STAR album review, calling it “a tremendous piece of work that’s enlightening and dark and dank all at the same time.” The author of the review, Butch Jones, has also written about Fen’s Trails Out Of Gloom and Of Losing Interest. Thanks Butch!
Rob at Denmark’s Power of Metal has put his thoughts on the Slug Comparison album here, rating it 90/100. In his review, he likens the vocals to Thomas Giles Rogers of Between The Buried And Me and Casey McPherson of Flying Colors, introducing me to a couple of bands I’d never heard before.
Rob, whose knowledge of prog/metal music is enormous, also runs a facebook page that posts a ridiculous number of interesting and sometimes awesome prog songs every day. I had no idea how uninformed I was until I liked the page–I suggest you do the same, here.