Twilight Fauna
The Year the Stars Fell


3.2
good

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
May 30th, 2017 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For the first time, Paul Ravenwood's vision of backwoods Appalachian black metal comes together the way it was meant to.

I have a lot of respect for Paul Ravenwood’s work ethic, I’ll give him that. Maybe he’s just another one-man black metal act in a sea of one-man black metal acts, but few can pump out releases as quickly as he can. Seven full length albums in five years is mind boggling when you think about it, and that’s not even counting his various EPs and collaborative splits. Hell I’m five days past my intended release date for this very review, so I’ll hand it to anyone that seems to live via his work. The guy has a goal and sets his mind to getting it done every single time.

But when you actually listen to his music . . . things becomes a little less surprising.

Quite literally all of his work leading up to last year’s Fire of the Spirit was marred similarly by piss poor production, directionless songwriting, and often sloppy instrumentals. I suppose it’s to be expected in retrospect when an artist pushes out material that fast, but one would think that Mr. Ravenwood might’ve gotten the message that he’s moving too quickly by now. While The Year the Stars Fell is a night and day improvement over any of his past work, I don’t think it’s because he got said message actually. The likelier answer is that he just kept throwing his head against the pavement until his fingers fell into the right places on the fretboard.

One concrete piece of evidence towards the improvement found on The Year the Stars Fell is the addition of drummer Josh Thieler, marking the first time someone other than Paul Ravenwood has composed for Twilight Fauna. The drumwork still struggles to gel with the music at times, not always pairing the right beat with the mood the guitars try to evoke, but that’s a far cry better than the head-scratchingly clumsy drums found on previous albums. On the other hand, it’s possible that Thieler contributed substantially to the improved compositions, but it’s hard to know without an insider’s eye. When it comes to Paul Ravenwood’s usual contributions, it’s his guitar work that shows the most improvement. While the black metal sections are more or less the same, somewhat difficult to decipher thanks to an excessively fuzzy tone, he’s clearly learned to choose his notes more carefully in the softer moments. Many of the melodies are genuinely memorable and affecting, often drawing on reverberating post-rock esque swells to close out tracks like in “10 Starless Nights”. Ravenwood gleefully demonstrates his affection for natural acoustics as well as his banjo, which comprises the entirety of two tracks. The calm plucking in opener “The Ghosts We Leave Behind” is particularly memorable, though the heavy handed strumming that follows can feel stilted at times. “Across the Blue Ridge Mountain” stands to be the most polarizing track of the lot. The pure folk approach here is fitting in practice, serving to solidify his American folk influences, but his vocals and lyrics leave something to be desired. The remainder of the songs alternate between fuzz laden black metal and mellow cooldowns, but each affects in its own satisfying way at one point or another.

While it’s all something of a mixed bag, what The Year the Stars Fell really succeeds at doing is completing Ravenwood’s vision of a marriage of atmospheric black metal and his Appalachian folk roots. On past records this combination felt shoehorned or taped together, but here there’s a newfound focus. “Across the Blue Ridge Mountain” isn’t a perfect song by any stretch, but that feeling that he recorded himself sitting by a fire with a banjo and just his voice, then tossed it on the record, lends a naturalistic honesty to the album. It doesn’t hurt that he found a more competent drummer to pair with and figured out how make memorable melodies for once, but some of the flaws that previously appeared on Twilight Fauna albums return without being nearly as damaging in a way. Ravenwood improved on a few things, with a little help of course, and directed the things he either couldn’t or wouldn’t change. It’s an honest approach that creates an honest result . . . and that is one more thing I can now respect Mr. Ravenwood for.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.1
good
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Panopticon Kentucky


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2017


10179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

Something I meant to touch on in the review but never really found a good time to do so is how similar to Panopticon's Kentucky this is. It very much does a lot of the same things, with somewhat similar results, though I'd go as far as to say that in some aspects this is actually better.



Not the best album ever by any stretch but this was surprisingly intriguing to look into. Earned a lot more listens from me than most 3.2's I would give



https://twilightfauna.bandcamp.com/album/the-year-the-stars-fell

Dinosaur
May 30th 2017


1107 Comments


haven't been impressed by things I've heard from this band...But Kentucky was cool, so maybe I'll check this. Good review as well, Sounds like this album has a good share of high points.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2017


10179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

all their previous work is garbage but this is surprisingly decent, worth a listen for sure

zaruyache
May 30th 2017


17935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Can confirm: game is 100% on point.

Dinosaur
May 30th 2017


1107 Comments


Game is always on point.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2017


10179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

agreed

kingdedethefifth
May 30th 2017


4277 Comments


Games reviews are the only reason I stay on sput tbh

MistaCrave
May 31st 2017


2475 Comments


Lol thought this was a colab between Twilight and Fauna at first, what a band name

Dinosaur
May 31st 2017


1107 Comments


I wish.

zaruyache
May 31st 2017


17935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Don't tease me like that ;_;

Hawks
June 1st 2017


51983 Comments


I might check this. Last album is terrible.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Land of the Free

zaruyache
June 1st 2017


17935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

incoming hawks 3.5

Crysis
Emeritus
June 1st 2017


17295 Comments


everything i've heard from this dude is garbage

porcupinetheater
June 2nd 2017


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This isn't bad enough to bother with actually shutting it off, but it ain't good enough to not make me wish it was over

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2017


10179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

"everything i've heard from this dude is garbage"



everything he's done is garbage, cept this



he found himself somewhat on this imo, you can see just by looking at past album titles that his schtick was somewhat a tired front but this is genuine, flaws and all



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