US black metal band DRYAD have today released their debut full-length, The Abyssal Plain, via Prosthetic Records. On their first long player, the Iowa City, IA group descend to the ocean floor and present 13 tracks of deep sea horror with a primary focus on ecological issues, hostile climates and parallels to the human psyche.
Speaking on the single, DRYAD comments: “At last, the Abyssal Plain is upon us – the final chapter in our Silurian Age saga. We’re beyond thrilled to finally present this record to the world in all its Stygian glory. These songs are illuminating visions of an alien world of dreams and nightmares alike. Thank you to everyone who’s dived into the depths with us so far – this is just the beginning. Will we unlock the chasms of the deep before humanity runs its course? Or will the darkness envelope us all?”
DRYAD‘s take on black metal is as abrasive and primeval as you would hope from a band that draws their biggest lyrical influences from the furthest reaches of the ocean floor, far from even the weakest tendrils of sunlight. Their stygian take on the genre is chaotic and suitably lo-fi, but on The Abyssal Plain, the oppressive cacophony is punctuated with synth-heavy interludes heavily inspired by 80s horror movie soundtracks (think John Carpenter and Dario Argento).
The activity of the intricate ecosystems 10,000 feet below the surface of the ocean provides an abundance of material for lyrical horror stories of near-unbelievable monsters and mind-bending geological features, but DRYAD are keen to stress the environmental message woven throughout their music (the band itself is named after the mythological spirit and protector of the forests). Ocean environments are continuously being polluted and exploited for supposed human gain, and the despair and fury this elicits is palpable in the visceral sound of the band.
The real-life horrors that lurk on the deepest parts of the seafloor also serve as a metaphor for the tenebrose depths of depression and psychological struggle, reflecting a place where it is impossible for light to penetrate. And yet, even in those deepest, darkest depths, incredible creatures not only exist, but thrive – some even creating their own light – in seemingly the most inhospitable of environments. So, whilst this album is very much about the depths of the ocean and the alien creatures of the abyssal plains that lie at the bottom of our seemingly mundane Earth, it is also about feeling alone in the darkness and still creating your own light. Being able to manufacture hope in a seemingly hopeless place – both for oneself and for the future of the planet.
The Abyssal Plain was recorded in the band’s home state of Iowa by Luke Tweedy, mixed and produced by Jaxon Vesely, and co-produced by DRYAD’s Claire Nunez, before being mastered by Adam Tucker at Signaturetone. On their debut album, DRYAD have crafted a syntheses of sound – forged from foundations that are part horror story, part rallying cry.
Praise for The Abyssal Plain:
“…the very distinctive, deranged personality this band exudes makes it a very compelling listen.” – The Quietus
“…it is as remorseless as it is gnarly. Great fun, in other words.” – Blabbermouth
“Where DRYAD achieve brilliance is in the ability to meld that atmosphere with tangible anger and disillusionment toward the state of the world.” – Consequence
“The Abyssal Plain takes their tried and tested sound to new heights and an even wider audience, and it stands as easily their best work to date.” – Distorted Sound
“The Abyssal Plain is a true house of horrors amalgamation.” – Ghost Cult
The Abyssal Plain tracklist:
3. Brine Pool Abberation
5. Loki’s Castle
7. Pompeii Worm
8. Chimera Monstrosa
9. Abyssal Plain
10. Black Smoke
11. Raptures of the Deep
13. A Nagging Thought
Claire Nunez – Vocals, Guitar, Synths
Grimmtooth – Vocals, Guitar
Joe Milik – Bass
Oliver Weilein – Drums