Fauna
Avifauna


4.0
excellent

Review

by zaruyache USER (21 Reviews)
April 12th, 2015 | 74 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best American black metal record you forgot about.

Helping to jump-start the “Cascadian black metal” movement with their first two releases, Fauna cemented themselves in the history of American black metal alongside the likes of Weakling, Leviathan, and Wolves in the Throne Room. While the band’s first two records were released fairly quickly, their third effort, Avifauna, encountered a handful of difficulties which hindered its release and ultimately seemed to push it from the minds of longtime fans and the black metal community at large, severely disrupting its reception to the point of almost complete obscurity.

Its physical release having been delayed numerous times, Avifauna was finally designated ready-for-order in late December 2012 with little announcement or warning, signaling an end to years of waiting for fans eager to see what direction the band would take next. Seeing as both previous releases by the band were fairly distinct from one another, the question for their next album seemed fairly obvious: where exactly would Fauna take their third album--would it be more straightforward black metal/folk like Rain, more doom/drone like The Hunt, or something else completely?

The answer seems to be a bit of the former, with a dash of the latter--Avifauna doesn’t so much tread new directions as it does clean up and solidify the band’s previous styles, while simultaneously streamlining them. Featuring three lengthy “main” tracks and two short interlude pieces, the album still runs a hefty 73 minutes but this time is much, much more organized than the band's previous releases. While cutting the band’s movements into three shorter pieces might not, in theory, allow for the same hypnotic ritual-like feelings as their previous works, it does force the individual movements to become much more diverse and dynamic which absolutely works in the band’s favor.

Each of the three main tracks on Avifauna work as their own “mini” epics which cycle through simple, ritualistic acoustics and mid-paced metal riffs on their way to thundering black metal crescendos. Essentially, the album plays out like a more dynamic or better-structured Rain but recreated thrice instead of in one long slog; each lengthy track represents the same playing styles and songwriting techniques but is organized differently from the pieces before it.

Taking a page from Echtra’s namesake side project, “Soaring Into Earth” begins the album with eight minutes of simple, slow acoustic playing accompanied by a sad violin and the occasional folk-ish singing. Suddenly, the acoustics are overwhelmed by an eruption of black metal riffs, blasting drums, and anguished vocals. The cacophony continues for several minutes, cycling through different lead melodies to provide a sense of transition amidst the unchanging drum beat. After sucking in the listener with its hypnotic tempo, the drums suddenly slam on the breaks and rip the listener away from their reverie, greeting them instead with a slow guitar dirge that eventually gives way to another acoustic section, often gracing their ears with more wonderful violin accompaniment. The track then finishes its twenty-nine minute run by combining the sum of its parts in a doomy-yet-hopeful mid-paced crescendo of electric riffs and violin.

The other two full tracks, “Syrint” and “The Harpy”, more-or-less mimic the combinations of elements and songwriting ideas present in “Soaring into Earth”, but organize them differently so as to create three independent-yet-similar pieces. In that way, Avifauna is definitely a stylistically predictable record but that doesn’t really work against it; in the context of the album each piece--including the two short interludes--work as part of a whole, seventy-minute ritual nicely cut into five pieces for accessibility and aesthetic appeal.

Taken as a whole, Avifauna is one big blasting droney folk metal epic that carries the idea of hypnotic ritualism through an ever-changing slew of tempos and instrumental styles. Although it appeared with little warning after mostly being forgotten about, Fauna’s third LP definitely proves itself to have been worth the wait and should definitely establish the band as one of the true heavyweights in American black metal.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
zaruyache
April 12th 2015


17177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

tl;dr best usbm that people weirdly forgot about even though it was definitely hype train-worthy.



http://www.fauna.bandcamp.com/album/avifauna

Digging: Penguin Cafe - The Imperfect Sea

p4p
April 12th 2015


1939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude,

















ily

MoosechriS
April 12th 2015


5957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Was surprised myself that more people didnt get on this when it was released. Awesome review as always dude

emester
April 12th 2015


8121 Comments


Awesome album and review. discovered this back last fall and its a hell of a listen. Think I actually had this 4.5'ed for some time

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Return to the Void

rasputin
April 12th 2015


14878 Comments


disagree with your first sentence greatly

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2015


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice write-up man, gonna jam this for sure

Digging: Skull Kid - Protection Charm

LifeFeedsOnLife
April 12th 2015


457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great job on the review.. kind of surprised it took so long for someone to tackle it.



@emester. I think it was actually you who rec'd me this awhile back. So, thanks 'n stuff..

Digging: Bad Sector - Kosmodrom

zaruyache
April 12th 2015


17177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

disagree with your first sentence greatly





Rain was like one of the first cascadian bm albums, tho. And Threnos pretty much were the first band to do it at all.

CaptainDooRight
April 13th 2015


2180 Comments


Book

zaruyache
April 13th 2015


17177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

novella

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2015


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

omg getting a Tenhi vibe on Syrinx, this rules



emester
April 13th 2015


8121 Comments


Even though its nearly half an hour long, Soaring Into Earth still keeps me engaged throughout its entirety. Fucking love that track.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2015


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i only did a quick sampling of the tracks to see if this is my kinda thing, so stoked to hear the whole album. love the neofolk aspects

Hawks
April 13th 2015


48955 Comments


I need to jam this.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2015


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes you do. just finished this 75 minute beast, and it was amazing

zaruyache
April 13th 2015


17177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It think the individual tracks have the potential to get a bit tedious with the way they change between a limited number of styles, but as a whole they work together as a really more interesting Rain. This is like Rain but with actual songwriting instead of just blocks of acoustic stapled onto blocks of bm.

rasputin
April 14th 2015


14878 Comments


'Rain was like one of the first cascadian bm albums, tho. And Threnos pretty much were the first band to do it at all.'

no about it jumpstarting american black metal in general

zaruyache
April 14th 2015


17177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i totally glazed over that part when I re-read it. I'll edit that thx.

Serenityinaz12
April 30th 2015


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This release blew me away.

carved
April 30th 2015


285 Comments


one of the best of this scene



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