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5.0 out of 5 stars Fauna- Rain LP Review (9/10), 29 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Rain (Audio CD)
Described by their label as an ultra-obscure two-piece based in the temperate rainforest region of the Pacific Northwest, Fauna are a new breed of band working in the black metal genre. Creating an emotive and progressive soundscape which journeys from the lush acoustic valleys to the raw black metal "power and pummel" peaks, theirs is a sound more strongly aligned in spirit with hardcore punk than any of the more commercial strands of black metal, rendering Fauna as a truly unique entity in black metal circles.

`Rain' is the bands ambitious opus, a 63minute tour-de-force that shifts tectonically across a myriad of feelings and emotions, sucking the listener in and then refusing to let go, keeping them riveted with every progressive twist and unforeseen turn that they have in store. After a 5 minute lull of natural rainforest sounds which forces one to get prepared for the journey ahead, `Rain' commences with delicate and plaintive guitar swirls that successfully wring out every last drop of emotional endeavour, the shimmering tones making for a perfect start to Fauna's epic hour-long dreamscape. Akin to watching the intro to a brutally epic film, were a devilishly hypnotic soundtrack plays over a montage showcasing violent and deplorable acts, Fauna's guitar tones meander and swell hypnotically in an innocent yet devious manner, expertly playing the light against the dark in a cinematic yet totally authentic fashion. Deep and mournful `clean' vocal tones seep into the equation with aplomb, crooning subtly as the guitar melodies start to simmer with more intent before gradually growing ever more agitated and military-esque. This escalation is purely organic and thankfully shy's away from the premature and heavy-handed awkwardness found in many progressive instrumental pieces, and as such, a strong sense of authenticity is reached, allowing the listener to drift away blissfully and open-heartedly to the engorging body of sound carved out by Fauna.

At 22minutes in one can evidently see that the piece is about to blow but the way that it does is so totally unexpected and so unfathomably brutal. A charging mass of pounding percussion sweeps away like a thousand irate horses galloping at once whilst heavily downtuned guitars collide at light-speed in the midst of a waxing and waning melody that has the aesthetic of `raw black metal' stamped all over it. The way Fauna constantly play around with the piece whilst staying true to one central theme is jawdroppingly satisfying. Tempo's are shifted, rasping vocals enter the fray at brief intersections, the focus moves away from percussion to the melody and then back again at perfected moments and the whole entity at the pieces middle section is painstakingly designed to launch you into an emotive abyss in the most energetic of fashions. As Fauna reign back the sound at the half-hour mark with a drop down into epic doom-laden symphonics, you just get a chance to catch you breath whilst thinking what the hell just went down. What happens after is a true revelation as Fauna move between `Khanate-ish' doom to Old Man Gloom-esque apocalyptic post-metal. Liquid guitar melodies and skree join forces with rasping black metal vocal signatures and doom-laden percussives in a swelling mass of eternally dark sludgecore. Staying true to their progressive ideologies, these proceed to mellow out in strategic-fashion. Like the first sun-ray shooting its light into a dark wasteland of misdeed, Fauna utilise their melodic post-rock approach to slowly decay the darkness from their shell and after the half-way point, it showcases them whittling back down to the melodic and innocent core from which they started from. During this period many acts would have stripped down to a solitary guitar melody or disappeared in a haze of white noise but I thought Fauna were capable of bigger things and I half expected them to suddenly jolt the system and jump into a necro-assault of biblical proportions. 42 minutes in and they deliver the goods with another (somewhat more stifled) ode to the darkside which results in another beautiful demonstration of Fauna's proprietary melancholic speedcore that shifts wavelike across uncharted territories, none more so satisfying than 49 and a half minutes in. Pure bliss. In its last movement, the album proceeds to erupt frequently but in a more subtle manner as howling vocals and doomcore meet melodic passages and atmospheric waft. As was the case throughout, a focus on the battle between light versus dark is faithfully retained during these last minutes leading to a fully rounded and totally introspective piece that soothes the aching mind whilst providing an outlet for ones rage filled dreams. (KS)

For fans of: Teen Cthulhu meets Esmerine
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Rain by Fauna (Audio CD - 2009)
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