Sacred & Profane is the debut album by the two person-driven US band Oryad. I received it quite a while before it’s actual release on 25th May 2023. The more I could get into the listen. Here is my track by track review
Oryad – About The Artists
The two main artists of Oryad are Mora Murphy and Matt Gottlin-Sheehan. Moira is from East Tennessee, while Matt is a Colorado-based drummer – which already shows that this project is quite a special collaboration. For their recording, they also make use of additional musicians. A key person behind the album is Francesco Ferrini, who is specialized in orchestral arrangements for metal bands). The result is a progressive doom operate project hailing from the Appalachian and Rocky Mountain ranges […], how the band is stating in their press kit. In 2021, they already had a major release, the EP Hymns of Exile & Decay.
Oryad – Sacred & Profane – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 45 minutes.
1. The Path: Part I
The Path is working as intro and outro track. Nice atmospheric sound with a key focus on female vocalist. Sounds promising.
2. Scorched Earth
Scorched Earth has been the first single release of the album. The sound is intense, complex. Hard to describe the sound of the band. The description Progressive Doom Opera on the band’s website is maybe not complex enough. Fancy the long version? Metal, classical, doom, and jazz meet. All with a gothic outlook steeped in ancient ritual. Shredding riffs, hypnotic drums, and soaring vocals. Oryad comes from the Temple of Diana, deep in the woods, with music both heavy and expansive. Join us. Yeah, that’s about it. There is always something happening in this song – there are surprises and elements which simply make you enjoy Oryad. Good opener.
You can nicely illustrate and feel the complexity and wide range of sounds of Oryad by comparing Scorched Earth with Blood: the second track of the album is full of different ingredients, complex, surprising, symphonic. Blood just dares to open with some piano tunes and then more and more develops a wider sound, in a very relaxed, unexcitedly performed way. The chorus is a hymn on its own and the core the track. Amazing listen.
Some Oryad track for the heart? Mora Murphy is presenting the ballad Lilith in a beautifully scary way. Four minutes with a strong focus on the singer of Oryad – really nice write.
From Lilith, Sacred & Profane seamlessly conitnues with Eve, the second single release of the album. The song is one of two (the second one is Slice of Time) songs which almost hit 6:30 minutes. This leads to a lot of time which the duo uses to develop an instrumental and melodic theme. The dramatic song comes with the best vocal performance of the album.
The sixth track comes with a very different style again. The five minute track is very melodic and does not sound too much like a metal song. The song is very virtuous and thus rather feels like classical music on rock guitars.
7. Wayfaring Stranger
Luckily, this song is just 3:30 minutes. It comes with so many melancholy, you just have to grab a tissue and wipe away your tears. The rather “short” runtime unfortunately also means that the song does not receive the presence it deserves. Masterful composition!
8. Through The Veil
Even the second half of Oryad’s debut album is full of surprises. Through The Veil, for example, comes with a very interesting narrative style in the lyrics (at the beginning of the songs) and beautiful cello sounds.
9. Slice Of Time
The last full song of the album is the already mentioned epic Slice of Time. Just in case you don’t love Oryad after listening to the first eight songs, the give you their full load and full force in this bombastic finale. Fasten your seat belts before going on this ride with the US-Americans.
10. The Path: Part II
The epilogue track The Path: Part II is not only longer than the intro, but also feels to be a bit more intense. Again, the track is very atmospheric and has a nice symphonic metal flavor, before it fades out.
Oryad – Sacred & Profane – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Oryad – Sacred & Profane – My View
The style of Oryad could also be their biggest issue: I am sure there are parts of the album which you will love. However, the range of songs and sounds is so wide that there might be some sections, which are not in line with your core musical taste. If you accept that, Sacred & Profane is an amazingly written album.
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