|©2010 Self Released
1. Dryad (I Make My Home)
2. Gamma Leonis
3. ...of Salt and Sky
For many black metal acts, incorporating "atmosphere" into their music essentially means they have a keyboard player dinking out whole notes and perhaps even a lady friend going "ooooooh" in a spooky, yet operatic voice. Those bands usually get mocked by the likes of internet based pundits and rightfully so. The actual capture of atmosphere is considerably more difficult than setting the reverb knob to "cavern" and plowing away. It still requires the ability to compose and play music that naturally creates atmosphere. Petrychor, a one man act out of California, is one of the rare artists who pulls off this feat. Building on a base of black metal and the growing field of shoegazer influenced metal, Petrychor has managed to produce a debut EP that deserves considerable ear time.
The three songs on Dryad aptly capture Petrychor's overall approach to black metal. The vocals are pushed back into the mix as a hissing ominous voice of Extreme Concern, the guitars dwell in the general realm of black metal trebling, and the compositions are just as much about developing musical texture as subtle melodies. Tad Piecka, the man behind Petrychor, displays a considerable grasp of musicianship and more importantly, solid song arrangement. The opening number, "Dryad (I Make My Home)", may last for nearly eleven minutes, but it provides smart change ups and incorporates passages to keep things moving along seamlessly. The atmosphere he creates is pensive and (most importantly, because it is black metal) quietly triumphant. Quality black metal has triumph lurking behind every nook and cranny. The final number, "...of Salt and Sky", is played on acoustic guitar, but thankfully avoids the "look at my classical guitar skills" nonsense many bands wallow in.
Dryad succeeds as a debut because all three songs have me very excited to hear a full length release from Petrychor. This an outstanding debut and absolutely worth a listen for those who love truly atmospheric metal.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 12/2011