Dryad - The Abyssal Plain review
|Album:||The Abyssal Plain|
|Release date:||January 2023|
03. Brine Pool Aberration
05. Loki’s Castle
07. Pompeii Worm
08. Chimera Monstrosa
09. The Abyssal Plain
10. Black Smoke
11. Raptures Of The Deep
13. Abyssobrotula (A Nagging Thought)
What horrors lurk upon the dismal ocean floor? This question has fascinated the minds of humans for countless generations. After all, isn't it said that despite all our knowledge of the vast galaxies and nebulae in the cosmos, our own oceans hold secrets that we can scarcely imagine? Whether it's the adventures of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea or the dreadful cosmic terrors described in H.P. Lovecraft's mythos, artists have for centuries revelled in imaginations of deep-sea worlds home to ancient cultures and fearsome monsters. Lovecraft once said, "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown". Now Dryad aim to address this primal fear of the deep, mysterious sea with their debut album The Abyssal Plain.
With a runtime of barely half an hour, divided into 13 short songs, Dryad choose an approach that is fast, fun, and frankly insane. The crazed, shrieking lead vocals match the grotesque and nightmarish seafloor landscape seen on the cover art – with its smoke-billowing hydrothermal vents, spectral creatures, and a trench gaping like a hungry maw. The lo-fi black metal production and oppressive musicianship can get hard on the ears, and, I admit, it was at first difficult for me to bear. But, in some ways, the listening experience is similar to a dive into an ice-cold lake. After an initial painful sensation, you become aware of the warm blood pulsing in your veins. As you exhale a misty cloud of breath, you listen to the rhythmic beating of your heart – and feel more alive than ever before.
An important element that helps ease the listening experience is the inclusion of synth-heavy, psychedelic instrumentation that provides breaks of relief between the abrasive blackened death metal tracks. Some of the songs also present excerpts of calm, French-accented narration that remind of the famous documentaries of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, furthermore enriching this aquatic-themed adventure. Mesmerizing piano melodies lull the listener like a hopeful beacon of light floating in the obscure depths. But this serene aura is only a guise, a trap, for the songs quickly transition back to pummeling drum beats and riffs as sharp as the jaws of an anglerfish snapping shut.
In conclusion, The Abyssal Plain demonstrates a good balance of aggressive and dreamy moods. Eerie dungeon-synth tracks like "Hadal" and "Raptures Of The Deep" create an otherworldly ambience, while a combination of rapid-fire yelps and hellish growls in "Loki's Castle" drench the listener in a claustrophobic atmosphere of insanity. Take courage and a deep breath as you sink with Dryad to the bottom of the sea.
||Written on 16.01.2023 by The sign of good music is the ability to both convey and trigger emotion.|
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