Petrychor - Dryad
Self released
Black Metal
3 songs (23:12)
Release year: 2010
Official Website
Reviewed by Charles
“In an increasingly faceless and globalized culture, it is of the utmost importance that we document the emotions and attitudes of the dissenter whose goals and practices are not condoned or made possible by large society. 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, especially modern acoustic music, the gothic/neofolk scene, and the thickness and visceral catharsis present in the best post-rock.”

Thus write Petrychor by way of an introduction to this EP, which they have made available for a fee of your choosing (with no minimum, cheapskates; see the link above). It makes you think just how far some quarters of the black metal world have deviated ideologically from the Nietzschean norms classically associated with the scene. The anarchism and environmentalism (maybe uncharitably called hippyism by some) of the Pacific Northwest scene, home of Wolves in the Throne Room and Skagos, among others, also spawned this band, and it is little surprise that you also hear the same musical influences as well. Dryad is soaked deeply in expansive, emotive and even uplifting post-rock. And in actuality, this treads further still in that direction. Whilst many of black metal’s technical components still remain, the tone is moving further and further away. As will be shown blow, this is positive music.

Setting that aside for now, is the immense ambition of the musical aims stated above realised? The acoustic elements here are undoubtedly worked extremely well. The graceful acoustic guitar flourishes of I Make My Home and elegant piano twinkling of Gamma Leonis, whilst short, succeed in generating an aura of sophistication as a compelling frame for the reverberating post-black drama that is predominant. The latter, though, is loud and powerful, with a crashing, booming sound that a lot of bands would kill for. What’s more, at times it is positively euphoric; take for example the harmonic pattern that emerges 5:40 into the opening track which in some ways sounds like it should be accompanying the climactic scene to one of those films where the hero conquers some terrible disability to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s a bit of an enigma, in all honesty. This kind of melodic tone in a black metal track seems instinctively so wrong, but the way it’s delivered in such a magnificent, utterly ferocious tremolo blast, makes for an intense, conflicted listening experience. This effect is only heightened by the widdling enthusiasm of the guitar solos on display (this triumphant individual flamboyancy seems a little at odds with Petrychor’s humble, communal aesthetic!)

It seems to me that records like these are starting to give real weight to a new direction in black metal. On a personal note, I see this as a good thing for the same reasons that I don’t review any NSBM for this site. In the wider scene its legitimacy as true black metal will be questioned. I don’t mean that as a dig at the “close minded” or “elitists” and nor do I mean it as an assault on Petrychor’s own credentials. Simply, I mean to say that this is a very different interpretation of the art form.

Killing Songs :
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Other albums by Petrychor that we have reviewed:
Petrychor - Makrokosmos reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Petrychor - Effigies and Epitaphs reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
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