Monday, April 24, 2023

Musings: Oryad - Sacred & Profane

Oryad is a mystic progressive doom metal band from Tennessee and Colorado. What is particular about this band’s distinct sound is the operatic vocals lead singer Moira Murphy brings to the proceedings. Her performance is powerful and melodic throughout the duration of Sacred & Profane, their follow-up to the 2021 EP Hymns of Exile & Decay.

This symphonic metal journey opens with “The Path: Part I”, a dazzling, haunting piece reminiscent of something you’d find on Wojciech Kilar’s 1992 Dracula soundtrack. Murphy also reminds me of the great Sarah Brightman with her vocal prowess. The lead single, “Scorched Earth”, is epic in scope and features plenty of heavy guitar riffs—operatic metal at its best. The keyboard-driven “Blood” is a hypnotic song with tremendous vocals, but the drumming pattern sounded too much like a drum machine to me. “Lilith” pays homage to the demonic female seducer. This one’s got a slower tempo and continues to showcase Moira Murphy’s phenomenal vocals—a highlight of the record. “Eve”, the second single, is a solid song, but I found myself really disliking the drum machine-sounding drums here. “Alchemy” is my personal favourite; very melodic, it’s a gentle hard rock tune with an edge. “Wayfaring Stranger” is the shortest track of the lot and feels a bit like a transition song towards the third act of the album. It’s a gem of a song. “Through the Veil” opens with whisperings in what sounds like French. It’s a beautiful, entrancing slow song with strings. “Slice of Time” is high energy, and while it’s a good tune, I have the same issue as stated above with the drumming. It also feels like it goes on for a tad too long, losing some of its momentum. But again, Murphy’s captivating vocals save the day. Which brings us to “The Path: Part II”, a gorgeous closer in the same vein as the opener. Those two tracks are absolutely perfect to bookend this sonic experience.

Sacred & Profane is a remarkable record showcasing a singer who’s got talent to spare. It’s a terrific effort from a band that’s wonderfully diverse and that easily weaves together metal, doom, prog, opera, classical, and even jazz into their sound. Oryad has concocted a splendid collection of songs that you should seriously consider purchasing once the album is unveiled on May 25th.

Oryad’s Bandcamp page: 

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