Review Summary: All the worst that could happen turned up the best.
The world of black metal is surprisingly vast, although the uninvolved will probably still equate one variation of the genre to another, which sounds completely different to those in the know. Just a thing to think about. You can try your hardest to sound different than other black metal bands (hell, death metal has this problem too) and people with either vague knowledge of the genre or little experience with it will still barely hear a difference, because “it is all just some noise”.
What am I getting at here is that Selvans tried to sound different. Or maybe they didn’t and it just ended up sounding that way. Either way, this album is different, but only barely so. It is your standard folky black metal, but with occasionally soft post-rock inclinations, almost electronic production (although I guess it just sounds that way) and oddly high-pitched vocals that at first might put listeners off, but it is nothing impossible to get used to. Nevertheless, those aspects, as well as unexpectedly chilling gothic atmosphere, do come together into an album of unusual and unexpected beauty.
‘Unusual’ and ‘unexpected’ are also words defining this album. You don’t expect any of this to work on you. The typical black metal sections are nowhere near pushing the envelope. They are at best trite re-imaginations of any other black metal album that came before. The high-pitched vocals, though nothing new for the genre, are in and of themselves an incredibly obnoxious thing. The choir chanting that is present throughout the album has lately also become a cliché. The folk and organ parts are recorded in such a strange way that it makes them sound – as mentioned before – like electronica. And then there is the overall production that if not on a potato was definitely done with a rotten hard-boiled egg.
But again, ‘unusual’ and ‘unexpected’. This doesn’t make sense. “It is all just some noise”, as the uninvolved would say. And they’d be right. All those aspects are bound to make at best an okay album. So I blame my adoration for Faunalia
on my adoration of the genre and my eternal need to seek the beauty underneath and all the hidden greatness. No, this is not a spotless album. Those things I mentioned above will most likely result in – and already are – turning people away from this (as well as some other factors that may vary from person to person). But they did not for me. So I guess it’s either that most people listening to this will pass it off as “just some noisy metal record” or that it is me who overthinks it and sees it for something it is not.