24 Jul 2013

Filsufatia / Twilight Fauna - Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow [Split] (Self-released, 2013)

Black metal's reputation for being badly produced and easy to play has brought with it a ton of "bedroom black metal bands", often of the one-manned kind. In continuation of this there are a lot of below-bootleg quality EPs, demos and splits in general cirkulation.
On the "Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow" split two one-man black metal bands with a token appreciation for the origins of atmospheric and depressive black metal give their own impressions of how to emulate that familiar sound and feeling of bands such as Burzum, Drudkh and Alcest. Though Ravenwood's Twilight Fauna and Deep's Filsufatia don't resemble the afforementioned bands as such there is definitely the tinge of clear influences among their compositions.

Hailing from a place as unlikely for black metal as Malaysia, Filsufatia has since 2006 released a steady stream of demos with Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow being the first split. Filsufatia's music consists of a myriad of decent guitar melodies accompanied by sombre piano tones, but the music is ultimately dulled down to near unlistenable garbage because everything is more or less programmed or at the very least hugely processed through a computer. The melodies come off as alright, but the tunes themselves can't bear the weight of the music. The amount of horrendous FL Studio-sounding instrumentation really numbs the experience to the point where it almost seems like it was made for someone else to practice to.

With Twilight Fauna from Tennessee, USA, we're back in a familiar setting this time more appropriately billed "atmospheric" rather than "depressive". Twilight Fauna started out in 2011 and has since released a few albums and splits. Ravenwood's compositions in Twilight Fauna consists of a ragtag collection of drums with some monotone unthoughtful pseudo-riffs thrown into the mix. To top it all off are his harsh vocals which are delivered at such a whispering volume that they hardly qualify as such. The end result is a rather unmelodic collection of chaotic bedroom "black metal" with little rhyme or reason and little consideration for rhythm.

All this aside the two bands go well together. Though they are billed as depressive and atmospheric black metal respectively their music is rather similar. Perhaps even too similar. If I didn't know any better I would be inclined to think the two one-man projects were one and the same, because the small differences in the songwriting aren't that big. Filsufatia is more melody oriented, and Twilight Fauna more inclined to atmospheric riffs, and these qualities are also made manifest in their different sounds. I suppose this is where they distinguish between atmospheric and depressive black metal.

The best track on the split is by far A Silent Agony by Twilight Fauna. It's mostly text book guitar chord compositions with a few haunting melodies and vocal parts thrown in the mix (think Diablo II's soundtrack). It's not something entirely out of the ordinary, and it certainly isn't metal, but it works rather well compared to the additional contents of the split. It's not much, but it's something. Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow is bland and straight up boring. Filsufatia doesn't make depressive black metal sound melancholic, emotional, painful or beautiful and Twilight Fauna doesn't manage to put enough atmosphere into atmospheric black metal (or maybe the problem is that it's so atmospheric it stopped being music). 3/10 guitars.

1. Twilight Fauna - The Cold Air of a Solitary Night
2. Twilight Fauna - A Silent Agony
3. Filsufatia - Laverne (A Million Miles Nowhere)
4. Filsufatia - The Grand Eulogy (Welcome Home)

Twilight Fauna official site
Filsufatia official site

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