Mid range: The most prominent feature of the latest record to spin out from Tennessee-based black metal affectionist Paul Ravenwood. His solo project Twilight Fauna is not to be confused with the now passed New Moon sensation of Twilight and if you have Twilight Phobia (Thanks Stephanie Meyer) then it’s time to confront your fear of the dark with the Fire of the Spirit.
The dark, when it’s not clouded over by hastily produced electric guitar tones, is a fair entry into folky-shoegazer territory. Generating enough dark matter to draw the room closer and evoke a sense of campfire nostalgia. These clean parts set the mood for what is potentially a very cosy album but it’s washed out by the loudness and tone of their grizzled anamorphic counterparts.
It’s not that the riffs aren’t interesting, as they do still hold emotional merit when it comes to changing up a step, in the same way that vomiting with your hair down makes everything feel much better. Occasionally you can hear the winds of a chord change gust with the implication that something is happening and then something else comes gently whispering behind its bellowing range, but it’s revealed to be only a tale told by a shrew.
Guitar orientated music shouldn’t compromise everything else in the mix but unfortunately Fire of the Spirit pushes the guitars right up to the front. Detracting from the humble intentions Ravenwood is trying to convey in telling us lost fables from the Appalachian Mountains. Unless they’re trying to scatter them to the winds, again.
The compositions themselves are very well laid out and the choices Ravenwood makes to motivate the stories Twilight Fauna want to tell are theoretically sound. They’re just not implemented very well on the technical side as the horrible mid range coming from the amplifier does nothing for its form in the moments of power.
Fire in the Spirit is a good effort hiding behind a wall of wet farts to mask its artistic credibility. Loud, proud and hidden beneath a shroud Ravenwoods riffs are appealing and provocative but the lack of confidence in them and their other layers is impotence incarnate.