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Filsufatia / Twilight Fauna > Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow > Reviews
Filsufatia / Twilight Fauna - Fallen Leaves in a Tide of Sorrow

Half is good and half is bad - not a must-have - 50%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, January 17th, 2014

Here's a handy split recording that introduces two depressive black metal acts who will be unfamiliar to most MA readers. Twilight Fauna hails from Tennessee state in the US and Filsufatia comes from Kota Bharu in far northern Malaysia near the border with Thailand. Each act contributes two songs on this split.

Twilight Fauna purveys a very distorted and blurry mix of corroded guitar tones and fairly sharp tribal-sounding percussion. Riffs are easy to make out though, however heavily rusted the chords might be. Passages of pure-toned acoustic guitar are surprisingly clear and sharp so it's obvious the black metal distortion is deliberate. In spite of the severe abrasive textures, the music can be beautiful and soulful with a gentle, melancholy, almost weepy mood. Vocals are extremely gruff to the extent that they are just another layer of blurred sandpaper texture.

There is a strong country-folk flavour which might be derived from TF's bluegrass music heritage, especially on the haunting second track "A Silent Agony" which is mostly acoustic and sung with a clear vocal shadowed by a ghostly voice. Altogether TF's side of the split features quite varied music (well, as varied as can be with just two tracks) with deeply felt emotion and very moving lyrics.

Filsufatia brings up the second half of the split with completely instrumental tracks dominated by solo piano melodies and influenced in equal measures by black metal and post-rock. The sound is very clear and Filsufatia's style features quite crisp piano playing. Good as Filsufatia might be in playing and arranging his music, it lacks freshness and originality and much of it is hostage to synthesiser sounds, programmed rhythms and beats, and computer processing that empty the tracks of anything resembling individuality and quirkiness. The synth keyboards especially sound too heavy and give too much warmth to the music. The piano sections probably should be chillier than they are.

As one track passes into the next on Filsufatia's half of the split, the tremolo guitar repetition and the clunky beats start to grate. Atmosphere just doesn't exist; the music seems too happy for what it is. It all sounds like a soundtrack for a Studio Ghibli animated film of the sort where sadness, tragedy and hope abound and the good guys accept that as long as they do their little bit, they can't really change the world much and everything continues as before. This is REAL tragedy!

Twilight Fauna's side is not bad at all and shows promise of developing into a good fusion black metal / bluegrass country folk project if main man Ravenwood were inclining that way. As for Filsufatia, Deep has taken this project as far as he can and it's in need of fresh ideas and input. The split isn't necessary unless you're already a TF fan and need this to complete your collection.

Twilight Fauna and Filsufatia - 30%

Zerberus, August 14th, 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).

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