Petrychor seem to be one of those bands which, despite being thoroughly underground, are being disproportionately well recieved in metal communities, and by others. The band's style is hard to fathom, however, the band's website describes their sound as "Black metal laced with folk, avant-garde classical, and other musical interests." which sums it up far more thoroughly than I possibly could. "Effigies and Epitaphs" is the band's first full length album.
There's something very inventive about the entire album, and the music has a very unique twist. Most of the songs have woven into them some extremely competent acoustic playing, in a variety of styles, from a fairly traditional style, to folky, fingerstyle-type work which adds to the project's uniqueness. On the other side of the coin, the heavy elements of the music are also intriguing. While on paper, the music produced - blastbeats, and other heavy drumming styles, shrieking, and other techniques associated with black metal would, theoretically, be extremely heavy and raw, what results is, in-fact, an immersing wall of music which gives a melancholy, explorable, and uniquely evocative soundscape in which the listener can roam. While many atmospheric black-metal bands do this, Petrychor has an unique character, inviting the listener to explore a wilderness ravaged and broken by mankind, and lament.
Compared to the bands which bear and similarity which I've heard previously, Petrychor are much more murky in this release, with a powerful, almost booming undercurrent, with lead guitar and vocals flowing beautifully over the top of what is, frankly, everything else. in this murky undercurrent, many sounds are present, but exist not as much independently, more as a blend, dependant on each other, but bearing no one resemblance. What first appeared to me to be weak production is, in fact, part of the atmosphere. Everything sounds to me to be as it was intended within the record, and with this record, "everything" is a pretty massive term - the album has a lot going on in it.
Overall, this is a fascinating album, and one which has all the potential to become a cult-classic. While not mainstream black-metal, by anyone's standards, this is still a widely acclaimed release, and listening to it, after a while, about a month, of it slowly growing on me, I thoroughly enjoy it.
I give "Effigies and Epitaphs" 9/10.
Petrychor Official site
Petrychor on Bandcamp
"Effigies and Epitaphs" on Khrysanthoney records