I’m currently in my third listen of Twilight Fauna’s Fire of the Spirit (Ravenwood Recordings/Fragile Branch Recordings) but I can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite clicking. Maybe it’s the case of a fascinating concept just slightly exceeding its execution. Sole player/creator Paul Ravenwood extracts as much as he can from his guitar work and very sparse rhythms.
Let me expand on that above statement. Not unlike Dragged Into Sunlight or Neurosis, Fire of the Spirit is rife with obscure samples colliding with walls of harsh noise. Hell, Fire of the Sky even sounds like a title Neurosis would give to one of their collections of sonic fuckery. One could say that Ravenwood is even further committed to that formula as he tends to stick with the same riff for the entirety of the song even if that means eight plus minutes. And while that drives the atmosphere on head-trips like ‘Walking with the Ghost’ and ‘Anointing Oil’ it can anchor the album down at other points.
Despite that listening to an album is clearly not a visual medium (duh), I really feel that the cold and jagged aura created on Fire of the Spirit would even be further enhanced by setting it against a cinematic backdrop. The heavier bits on this album would be perfect playing in the background of tense films like Jeremy Saulnier’s recent Green Room or Tobe Hooper’s vaunted The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. While Ravenwood really drives forth the creeping riffs, he also excels at providing moments of acoustic levity on ‘Laying Out the Fleece’ and ‘A Glass Dalia.’ The former being so light that it’s sort of vaguely reminiscent of The Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris.’
Fire of the Spirit is akin to opening up to new cuisine or visiting a new city. It’s an engaging process, but not one I will be revisiting soon. It’s an engrossing listen that my dumb brain is still processing Now please excuse me while I justify my ugly American tendencies.