The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Album Review: Dryad’s “Abyssal Plain” is an impressive local record

Image via Bandcamp

From Iowa City’s music scene comes The Abyssal Plain by Dryad. The record contains impressive black metal with Lovecraftian elements that we do not hear enough of anymore. From the opening instrumental track “Counterillumination,” the listener feels something lurking. We then fall into the depths of hell with the second track “Bottomfeeder.” The listener knows what they are getting into at this point.

If you don’t like black metal already, this probably won’t win you over. But if you’re a fan, this is something to get excited about. In addition to sounding amazing, the tracks have a coherent rhythm that black metal sometimes lacks. The third track, “Brine Pool Aberration,” is a great example of this. The seamless transition between tempo breaks and groove that the guitar offers makes moshing a little easier. Speaking of moshing, if you have not been to a Dryad show, I highly recommend you go.

The next track, “Trenches,” showcases what each band member has to offer. Claire Nuñez (Claw) and Grimtooth scream over their impeccable guitar work, along with amazing bass from Joe Milik. To top it off, Oliver Weilein’s drumming serves as the perfect mix of loud, abrasive, and impressive to embody true cold and evil. But my favorite tracks aren’t even on side A.

Image via Little Village

“Pompeii Worm” and “Chimera Monstrosa” start off side B. “Pompeii Worm” has some almost groovy, punky undertones to it, with one of my favorite lines I’ve heard in metal in a while: “Scorch the sky to deepest shade of black.” This encapsulates all the themes of the album and sums up black metal, without singing about getting ripped through the gut with a chainsaw.

The album cuts to the dungeon synth track “Chimera Monstrosa.” The track starts with a beautiful synthesizer riff that builds into an epic wall of cold. Dryad does an excellent job with the instrumental and ambient tracks on the album. The last track, “A Nagging Thought” left me unsettled and feeling like I had heard something I was not supposed to. Overall, The Abyssal Plain is a great metal record that I would highly recommend to genre fans.