Heavy Song of the Week is a new Heavy Consequence feature that breaks down the top metal and hard rock tracks you need to hear every Friday. This week the honor goes to Iowa black metal band Dryad “The Abyssal Plain.”
Winter is upon us. The days are short, and the trees are withering. A seasonal depression comes as we stay indoors to escape the cold. No wonder black metal was pioneered in the tundras of Scandinavia. Otherworldly howls and walls of guitar reminiscent of the bitter arctic air – it sounds just right this time of year. Indoor life also means more time to consume, create, write, and record music. Ideal conditions for those who want to indulge in the black arts and channel any thoughts, negative or otherwise, through the escape and personal journey that black metal provides, as an artist and a listener. .
Iowa-based quartet Dryad knows a thing or two about cold weather. A staple of the Midwest metal underground in recent years, they continue to churn out raw black metal of a quality rarely seen in the region. Prosthetic Records noticed and signed the band, dropping their debut on the label The Abyssal Plain on January 20.
The fiery title track is central to the album’s themes of ecological and political disaster. Inspired by the ancient glacial lakes that once covered Iowa and the fossil-covered cliffs that remain, Dryad takes us to “plunge into the floor of the Abyssal Plain itself,” as they say. “A kingdom where the creatures of the void reign supreme, and the light above cannot be seen.”
An intro of murky arpeggios makes way for a scorching blastbeat workout and the harsh vocals of Claire Nunez, who also provides a subtle bed of synths. One gets the feeling of being engulfed in darkness, while the contrasting sounds of guitars and synths spin into a sonic whole.
Where the Dryad achieves brilliance is in its ability to mix atmosphere with visible anger and dismay at the state of the world. You can hear it in Nunez’s delivery and the urgency of the guitars. The sad part is that it sounds like a sob. Perhaps, we are lost. To the abyss we must return.
— Jon Hadusek,
Senior Staff Writer