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Literally years of waiting for a new album from this group has finally paid off with something incredible. There is no need to worry about this album being sub-par compared to their past albums. This one surpasses them both, by far. An interesting thing to note about this album is that for the first time the album is divided into separate tracks. There are 5 songs in total and the album does feel more broken up in a way than just one single long song. To be honest, that might be the only thing that I would have liked to be changed on the album. I always loved the terrifying thought of having to sit down and listen to well over an hours worth of Fauna in one sitting. The tracks being divided up like this allow the listener to take breaks or only listen to one song in a sitting which I believe is not a good idea for music like this. It is a demanding non-stop journey and should be treated as such until the end.
First of all it only takes 8 minutes for the black metal to come like an artillery shell hitting the ground a foot away from you. In the past on albums (especially on "The Rain") it took up to approximately 22 minutes for anything black metal like to show up. I can imagine that that was difficult for some listeners to take in the past. The album begins with an acoustic intro which sounds wonderful. Once the black metal comes in we are treated with the same kind of guitar tone that has been used in previous albums. The one thing that is very noticeable very early on is the improvement in the production value. At around 18 minutes during a long and extended acoustic passage this steady shamanic like drumming comes into play to lull the listener into a trance and it picks up in pace and then finally explodes back into a doomy dissonant section of the song which is quite possibly the best part of the whole album. The drumming sounding nearly tribal makes you just move your head along with it as well as with the droning spiraling distorted guitar strumming. This climax is easily one of the best passages that I have heard in black metal in a long, long time. The beauty about this is that this has just been the first song "Soaring into Earth." We are still in for a real treat.
On this album the three main black metal songs are divided up between two “Interlude” tracks. This is the first time that Fauna have actually named a song “Interlude.” They are mostly just some sort of ambient tracks that act as a sort of break between the other huge songs.
The rest of the album continues with songs that are similar to the first one and really do create an amazing atmosphere that is hard to explain and definitely very hard to duplicate. Describing a bit of the first track is just a way to make it a preview for people who want to listen to the whole album.
Fauna give off an energy that I very rarely find in any music. They are able to truly capture how black metal and nature are connected. There is something about the music that makes it seem to be more than just music. It is not explainable really. It is just something that needs to be experienced and interpreted by the individual that is listening to them They are certainly one of the most intense bands and to see them live in a forest of a field would be an out of this world experience. It is something that is definitely on my bucket list.
This album is very satisfying and the long wait for it was well worth it. Honestly one of the biggest problems with this album isn’t even a bad thing necessarily. After every listen I cannot decide on what to listen to next because there is so little that can compare to the emotional experience that this album is. I just hope we don't have to wait this long again for the next installment. I highly recommend listening to this album at night and alone and giving it a large amount of concentration.