It’s been cloudy around the campus lately, which makes the fact that I’ve been listening to Petrychor’s Dryad EP, a gem of a black metal album, all the more appropriate. Petrychor is a one-man band out of California shrouded in mystery; the sole member, simply known as “T” according to the band’s Myspace page, plays all the instruments. “T” recently put this EP up on his website, accepting donations from listeners willing to give. Not much else is known about the band except what is found on his website, which details the band’s goal and sound: “This is music for meditation, for frustration and anger, for beauty, and above all for communication. Petrychor seeks to expand on and enhance those focuses typically associated with black metal by staying open to outside influences.” It’s these influences that set this short DIY demo apart from the crowd.
The EP opens with the title track “Dryad (I Make My Home),” a 10-minute journey from rain-spattered windows to dissonant and distorted riffs, played as if cutting through the very fog I found myself surrounded by; haunting and unseen. There’s melody throughout the song, it’s just hidden beneath the screeches and banshee cries. Petrychor plays the typical tremolo picking style guitars with crashing cymbals and blast beats, but the guitar solos stand out for their melodies. The end of the song really keys in on the themes of melancholy and isolation found in black metal. Mysteriously beautiful, the atmosphere and acoustic sections of “Dryad” manage to resonate the most within the songs.
“Gamma Leonis” and “…of Salt and Sky” continue the EP’s intimate nature. “Gamma Leonis” opens with sparse piano, setting a tension that is quickly released with such aggression and passion and build-up that you would think that post-rock gods Mono were playing. “…of Salt and Sky” whisks the listener to the ocean, watching the ebb and tide of the water, nature, and even life; an acoustic guitar and twinkling piano play alongside the sea.
Dryad leaves you craving more, fitting in perfectly within the black metal genre. Containing only three songs and clocking in at 22 minutes, Dryad could be longer. However, the proceeds of this EP go toward the creation of a full-length album, which is already in the works according to Petrychor’s Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/petrychor). Despite this EP’s short length, it succeeds in making the listener crave more, and does so without sounding incomplete.
I would give Dryad 4 zombie babies out of 5.
You can get the EP from http://www.petrychor.com. Also look for news on the full-length album currently in production.