Review Summary: Another worthy addition to the USBM scene.
Nobody ever really thought of the American black metal scene as anything special. With other scenes in places such as Norway, Finland, Sweden, and other European countries taking the reigns, the Americans never really got too much credit and were always thought of as being mediocre. However, if you dig deep into the American black metal scene, you'll find that there are plenty of worthy bands that are coming out, especially in recent years. This band, Petrychor, and their debut full-length album, Effigies and Epitaphs
, is a very good example of that. Petrychor is a one man band, with all instruments and vocals being handled by a man by the name of Tad Piecka.
Tad does a few different things on Effigies and Epitaphs
and is pretty different than other bands in the USBM scene such as Leviathan, Ash Borer, or Fell Voices. Petrychor's music is essentially atmospheric black metal, which is similar to all of the aforementioned band, but also is a lot more than just that. There is also a very strong folk element to be brought to the table as well. A lot of the album is made up of fantastic acoustic guitar breaks and the first song, I Lift My Voice, is an entirely acoustic intro track. There is also a nice piano break a little over 4 minutes into the closing track, Beneath Highway and Street. These elements help bring in a breath of fresh air instead of just hearing blaring black metal in your ears for almost an hour. Then again, you get that as well. When the black metal parts come in, it's extremely fast and aggressive with a lot of pretty technical riffs and tremolo picking as well as plenty of blast beats and just all around fast drumming. Also, the album has a fuzzy type of production to provide plenty of atmosphere.
Vocally Tad isn't really anything all that special. You pretty much just get the standard semi high-pitched shriek that you hear from about 98 percent of all black metal vocalists. With that being said, if you like that kind of vocal style then you'll love Tad's vocals without a doubt. They're still very well done even if they're not the most unique thing in the world. One small issue about the vocals is the fact that they're not varied at all throughout the album. It's just one style. No cleans or anything like that will be found here. Like I said though, it's a small issue and if you're a fan of the genre already then that probably won't bother you at all.
Overall, Effigies and Epitaphs
isn't anything overly unique or anything that is going to have your jaw dropping in amazement, but it's still a very, very good album. If you're already a fan of this genre then I'd definitely recommend giving this album a shot, and if you're not, then this probably won't do too much to change your mind unless you'd want to give it a listen or two for the folk elements that are provided.