PETRYCHOR - Apocalyptic Witchcraft / Makrokosmos (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
Atmospheric black metal is doing great these days. We have labels like Vordvis, Eisenwald, Wolfspell and more that find some new and interesting projects from that sort of music. It just became impossible to be able to get everything that would seem interesting, so many fine releases are out there nowadays. But we can only try. And in this review I wanna recommend you a completely unknown project from USA that may interest you also, if you’re fan of atmospheric black metal. This project is called Petrychor and to be honest, first time I’ve heard of it was when I got the CD called “Apocalyptic Witchcraft / Makrokosmos”. I still don’t know much about its history, I don’t know nothing about the guy, who stands behind this project. Digipak is rather poor with information, although it does unveil a bit of details about the concept for these two recordings (concept, which is strongly bond with nature, earth and cosmos). And yes, two recordings, because this release is like a compilation with two separate releases of Petrychor (“Apocalyptic Witchcraft” from 2015 and “Makrokosmos” from 2014).
“Apocalyptic Witchcraft” is just one, but 25 minutes long song. And I have to say I love it and when compared to “Makrokosmos”, I can definitely say that on this EP everything sounds just better. The music is so well performed and composed, very intelligent and captivating, with a great diversity and combination of folky, acoustic stuff with atmospheric black metal. This song can go into two completely opposite directions – from melancholic, sorrowful stuff, with beautiful acoustic passages to fast, harsh black metal, progressive at times and always very atmospheric and dark. It’s balanced properly, never becoming boring or over length, which is always a risk, if you decide to compose a 25 minutes long song. Petrychor did very well here, each part of this song brings another great motif and the whole piece is quite easily listenable. I also like how it’s been arranged, how Petrychor composer uses keyboards, guitar melodies, acoustic and everything else. Sometimes it has even that post (black) metal feeling, which is cool also, reminding me for example Panopticon’s recent album.
Will I surprise you if I say that I like the quiet and less aggressive moments the most? Especially, when towards the end the music becomes hypnotizing with the post metal feeling and then it’s followed with beautiful acoustic piece. Damn, it sounds mesmerizing. The production is also quite nice, it’s clean and good for this sort of music. I have no idea if there’re programmed drums, but they do sound very well as well. So, you can see that I’m very positive towards “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” and this song surely deserves attention.
And as for “Makrokosmos”, well I have to say that this album – with four songs – is not quite as good as the recent EP. Still good but I enjoyed the newer EP more. First what I can say about ”Makrokosmos” is that the production is much harsher and it could have been a bit better. Secondly, the musical style is different and I like the style from “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” more. Don’t get me wrong. There are also some stunning and captivating fragments, here and there you can really feel tell that this dude behind Petrychor is very talented. Listen to “Ceaseless White” and how for example he incorporates violin into fast and raw sounding black metal! That’s not just exceptional, but it sounds fantastic. Weird, yes, but damn good also. ”Planets Born of Human Ashes” is another worth mentioning piece here, very long song, filled with dissonant and post metallish playing. With songs like this you can tell that “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” was much more black metal focused, while “Makrokosmos” is different, more post metal / ambient stuff (“Cosmic Irrelevance Does Not Suggest Terrestrial Insignificance”). Generally the second part of this CD is more difficult to get into, but personally once I managed to do so, I just liked it as well.
So, what else can I say? Nothing more is needed, I guess. Petrychor is very interesting, in my opinion. “Apocalyptic Witchcraft” is fantastic atmospheric black metal, “Makrokosmos” is great post (black) metal / ambient stuff. I am quite surprised with this CD, as it’s not necessarily the usual Wolfspell Records type of release, but I am not gonna moan that this label decided to release something different, if it’s that bloody good. Recommended again, digipack is limited to 500 copies only.
Standout tracks: “Apocalyptic Witchcraft”, ”Planets Born of Human Ashes”
Final rate: 70/100