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Twilight Fauna > Twilight Fauna ​/ ​Jennifer Christensen > Reviews
Twilight Fauna - Twilight Fauna ​/ ​Jennifer Christensen

And now for something different... - 41%

OakenHelm, February 17th, 2016

Perennially disliked one man black metal band Twilight Fauna teams up with multi-instrumentalist Jennifer Christensen, who is no stranger to black metal but chooses to play only neoclassical cello/violin stuff here. Both Twilight Fauna and Jennifer Christensen contribute one track each, with JC's leading off. Both sides of the split demonstrate melancholy in wildly varied forms, Twilight Fauna crafting more of their atmospheric, slightly depressive black metal and JC, as just mentioned, sticking to a more neoclassical bent. An atmosphere of melancholy pervades every second of this 14-minute split, and while not without flaws, is certainly worth one's time.

Being only a two-song split, based largely on the stylistic differences between the artists, it is worth analyzing each track independently and then upon how they synchronize together as a whole.

Jennifer Christensen's "Sickness Unto Death" (a reference to Kierkegaard, if you didn't know). Driving cello/violin tries to take you on a journey of self reflection and existential despair (no surprise given the influence), but largely falls flat due to boring composition and an inability to decide on a tone/theme. While, to be fair, this sort of stuff isn't really my thing - although I do love the cello as an instrument - it feels likes something is missing with this track. There are times when either too much is going on or not enough...either another instrument or another layer in parts would alleviate this problem. The downbeat parts are not bad, but not really engaging in any sort of way, while the faster parts seem rather aimless and fast for speed's sake. Then again, I don't particularly care for JC's black metal project, Møllehøj, so maybe just the way she composes stuff rubs me the wrong way.

Black metal conneiseurs have reviled Twilight Fauna for reasons not entirely clear to me, although the backlash against the huge wave of pretentious hippie, somewhat cascadian black metal/post rock likely plays a huge part of it. While I can see how some attribute many of the faults of this particular strain of black metal to this band, I have always enjoyed Twilight Fauna's work for what it is. Perhaps the fact that I generally ignore some of themes/personalities of the bands I listen to (particularly as many of the actual people that make up bands I love I find abhorrent - Burzum, Disiplin, Temnozor, etc) leads me to disassociate the artist from the music. Either way, "Crossing the Threshold" is Ravenwood's contribution and thematically follows the "Sickness Unto Death" by actually dying and crossing over to the other side. Vocals are buried and sparse with the fuzz and buzz taking full stage, as usual, with some gentle piano/synth providing a backdrop when the guitars drop out and give the rest of the song time to breathe in the bridge. I could not detect any drums, which again is Twilight Fauna's modus operandi - mileage may vary. Highly melodic tremolo riffing showcases Ravenwood's predilection for post rock and, while you can hear this sort of stuff just about anywhere these days (particularly on Bandcamp, where Twilight Fauna is primarily geared towards releasing stuff), it is quite effective on these cold winter nights to put on and just zone out as the waves of guitars wash over you.

While I appreciate a split between two very different projects, this one doesn't quite work. JC's track leaves me feeling very flat and doesn't really go anywhere, and Twilight Fauna is okay but not really anything mind-blowing. I appreciate just letting black metal ride on fuzz, buzz and distortion (hell, Wrath of the Weak is one of my favorite bands), but having no drums and almost no vocals makes it hard to be engaging. As a metal alternative to ambient it works, but not really. Furthermore, if you want to make a split thematically focused on melancholy, it would help to not have such an overly melodic tone to your black metal. This is more Alcest pretty, too light for the subject matter.

While worth a listen (especially Twilight Fauna, who I hope gets his act together one of these days as I can see some potential), this split didn't quite work on the melancholy angle, nor thematically.