'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland'
FRAGILE BRANCH RECORDS
Appalachian one-man-band Twilight Fauna is a hard act to define. Sitting somewhere between neofolk and post-depressive black metal. Its a combination that is dark and abrasive yet strangely hypnotic. It will certainly prove to be an acquired taste, even amongst black metal fans, but it is a rewarding listen recalling a range of avant garde black metal acts such as Ulver and Caina in their more primitive forms.
The juxtaposition of the haunting and unmistakably US folk influenced acoustic guitars and the harsh vocals and guitars works well on songs such as 'Coming Home (A Wilted Harvest)', 'Baying In The Hills', and 'Roots Stained By Time' with their sparse use of percussion and long track lengths adding to the atmosphere. While the more melodic and overtly neofolk leaning 'An Autumn Longing' shows off an unobstructed view of Ravenwod's song writing skills.
However the two songs that really get the formula right have to be the final two 'The Wind Chimes Through The Trees' and 'Of River Willows' with both displaying a more succinct and well rounded style.
The production is rough. Very rough. In typical underground black metal style the guitars and scathing and the vocals sounded like they've been recorded on a Dictaphone in a forest. It has the right effect on the songs but at the cost of the overall accessibility of them, which is a shame, because a more spit and polish approach, as on the great sounding acoustic elements, would make all the difference.
'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland' is an interesting album that will probably pass a lot of people by. In part because of the obscure style, but also down to the overly raw production. Ravenwood has a good formula on his hands and his lyrics and writing style are very effective. It's certainly one to explore if you are a fan of black metal and neofolk, though perhaps to raw for the casual listener.