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Quite an enjoyable release actually - 75%

oneyoudontknow, September 14th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Independent

An eruption. An eruption once the (misleading) acoustic introduction has passed. Soon a return to the opening calm and peaceful state, and then back to the black metal and then back again. This is the way the release opens and this is how all progresses. A contemplative part and a wild hurrah. It is either of those. The one provides time and room to breathe, while the other pushes you along. It is representative for the first track on this release as well as for the rest.

Petrychor's music is unconventional and does never dare to be something else. Rhythmic models that underlie the basic conception of the music do not rely or fall back on all too common patterns. Instead, the music is loaded with conceptual variations that push the listener hence here, thence there. Atmosphere above everything else. Vocals that appear in the background and are reduced to something like a texture, with the effect that it is difficult to make out something definite. Intense screams, a harsh counterpoint. Instruments above everything else. It is their part that would dominate, it is up to them to lead the way.

Atmospheric black metal is all too often merely about the aspect of layers. In terms of this band, this is presented in a peculiar kind of way. There is generally a lot going on in each of the compositions of the American band. Layers crumble, entire arrangements fall apart and are doomed to vanish into a plane from which a return is possible, but all to often not very likely. This perspective alone would fail to ignore the richness of each of the tracks and about the facets that can be discovered in them. Even though in terms of the balancing the optimum has certain not been reached, it is nevertheless possible to discover those small deviations and sparks from the ordinary. In "Gamma Leonis" there is a vague piano or xylophone in the background. Some nice solo guitar elements in "Dryad (I make my home)".

Dryad is a difficult release somehow. There is something wrong with it, but to actually put it in words is by no means an easy task. While the performance is good and the production more than solid, at times the music feels like it wants to drown the listener and bombard this person with all the band has at their disposal. Barrage after barrage of ever more of the same is being thrown towards the person listening and this takes its toll. There is too much of either and little in between. Nevertheless and despite this, it is a hell of an enjoyable release. If someone has a certain fancy for intense black metal, whose facets are contrasted or disrupted by calm atmospheric moments, this would not only a release to take a look at, but the entire discography of the band should be something to take a dive in.

Addendum: on a very small and almost negligible side note, those calm piano moments remind on Il Fuoco by Giardini Di MirĂ².