Sunday 12 March 2023

DRYAD ~ Y .... review

In 2018 German trio Dryad, Michael Rudolf (bass | vocals), Alexander Atzinger (guitar | backing vocals), and Sebastian Spahn (drums | percussion), released "Rehearsal Tape" a five song collection of proto-metal flavoured heavy stoner grooves recorded live at one of the bands rehearsals (hence its name). "Rehearsal Tape" was a little raw and rough around the edges but it had something about it that caught The Psychlist's ear and prompted us to make a note of the bands name in the hope that they would soon release a follow up, little did we know that it would be another five years before that follow up materialised. "Y", the bands brand new full length debut has finally arrived, a little later than expected but patience pays its own rewards and the band has rewarded us well.

The thing that prompted Desert Psychlist to hit the buy button, on Dryad's Bandcamp page, for "Rehearsal Tape" was its drive, its vigour and its full on ferocity, thankfully five years has not seen any watering down in those departments. All five of the songs that appeared on "Rehearsal Tape" have found their way onto "Y" the songs all still retaining the raw edginess of the original recordings but enhanced by a better production and mix. Of the five songs "Y" shares with "Rehearsal Tape" it is probably "Overload" that benefits the most from its re-working, on "Rehearsal Tape" it felt almost like the band were trying to race to the finish whereas on "Y" it feels less rushed, its rhythms tighter and it solo's a touch less caustic. The newer songs are as good if not better than those reworked songs "Pulsar", begins tranquil and ambient then erupts into a chugging stoner riff fest decorated in a surprisingly mellow vocal, "Darvaza" toys with heavy psych textures and alt-rock quiet/loud/quiet dynamics, "The Devil's Breath" is off-kilter and punkish and "Of Knaves and Fools" is a delightfully ear catching blend of 70's heavy rock swagger and 90's desert rock fuzziness. The band even throw in some ambient weirdity with the extremely brief "Ludus Interruptus". The highlight of "Y" for us, at The Psychlist however is the same song that was our favourite from "Rehearsal Tape" and that is "Meghalaya", a song that is an absolute blistering force of nature, thick gravelled vocals roaring and barking over a backdrop of fierce percussion, bone rattling bass and crunching riffage that culminates in a thunderous finale, a real barnstormer in an album full of barnstormers.

"Y" may not have quite the feral attack of its predecessor but it was never going to, what this debut full length album lacks in ferality it makes up for in subtlety, the raucous guitar tones, growling bottom end and thunderous drumming that were such a integral component of "Rehearsal Tape" are all still very much in place on "Y" but have been tempered with touches of heavy psych and post-rock to give the bands sound a fuller more refined dynamic, a dynamic Dryad will hopefully expand upon with further releases.
Check 'em out ......  

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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