DRYAD have announced their debut full length album, The Abyssal Plain, set for release via Los Angeles based heavy metal label Prosthetic Records on January 20. Accompanying the album announcement, DRYAD are currently premiering a music video for the lead single, titled Black Smoke, via Decibel Magazine. Kicking off both DRYAD and Prosthetic’s 2023 off with a bang, The Abyssal Plain is a 13 track literal and metaphorical trip to the darkest depths of the ocean.
Speaking on the album announcement the band comments: “We’re thrilled to present our debut full-length album, The Abyssal Plain, on Prosthetic Records. Written in an abandoned Iowa prairie schoolhouse, and recorded in a rural converted barn, these songs are the epic conclusion to our Silurian Age – a saga of prehistoric magic and mystery under attack from the modern world, as well as a phosphorescent reflection of our own internal shadows. Dive into the depths if you dare…the infinite darkness looms, but the light still shines within.”
Of Black Smoke, DRYAD adds: “Our lead single, Black Smoke, is a call to arms to save our oceans before it’s too late – a black metal d-beat attack in defense of water sanctity (as well as a slight nod to a favorite horror film). It’s a fitting first release that echoes our core sentiments against the exploitation of the world’s natural resources. The video itself is a haunting homage to our local DIY scene, filmed entirely live and featuring the specters of many long-time collaborators, supporters and friends who have helped us get to where we are today.”
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.
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