Album Reviews

EP review: Oryad – Hymns Of Exile & Decay

Metal Opera meets a gothic outlook and ancient ritual. Shredding riffs, hypnotic drums, and operatic vocals. Oryad comes from the Temple of Diana, deep in the woods, with music both heavy and expansive. Join us.

If you feel addressed by this exciting and mysterious-sounding self-description, you can’t go wrong by letting the debut EP „Hymns Of Exile & Decay“ by the four-headed band Oryad work on you. The Denver/USA located band, which describes its music as a crossover of several styles, consists of Moira Murphy (vocals, keyboard), Luca Grieman (guitar), Adam Sanders (bass) and Matt Gotlin-Sheehan (drums).

After the pre-release of 3 singles, „Hymns Of Exile & Decay“ will be finally out on June 25 in all its glory. Consisting of six songs, the band’s first EP sets a solid and musically mature mark. To be clear: The main attraction of Oryad’s music is the incredibly powerful and expressive lyric soprano voice of Moira Murphy. At times her voice seems almost too dominant, but a band with such an awesome singer certainly has more of a luxury problem. Her powerful voice fits perfectly with the basic musical concept of Oryad and makes „Hymns Of Exile & Decay“ a lasting experience.

The opener „Inflammatus“, a metal arrangement of „Inflammatus“ from Rossini’s „Stabat Mater“, was one of the pre-released singles/music videos. It impressively shows Moira’s vocal abilities and is also implemented in a straightforward musical manner. A promising start.

The second song has the sort of unwieldy sounding name Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair“. It is originally a traditional Appalachian folk song. But – holy crap! – this song is truly an atmospheric monster. Difficult to describe who or what this masterpiece reminds me of, in any case, I am deeply impressed by the musical depth and atmosphere of this extraordinary and charismatic song. With crying guitars, a pounding rhythm and melodic vocal lines, this song takes the listener into another musical world, it seems. Three minutes and 45 seconds that got under my skin. I am always careful with superlatives, but for me this song is one of the best I’ve heard lately, and there were quite a lot.

Immersion“ moves into a similar direction. Again, very atmospheric and with oriental flair, the song proves the musical diversity of Oryad. After a running time of over 6 minutes the song explodes in a drumming thunderstorm – well done! The next song „Doxology“ was another single, released in November 2020. It’s a comparatively slow, very nicely arranged song with a running time of over 5 minutes. The song once again cast a spell over me. It reminds me of a soundtrack, surely one of the goosebumps moments of the EP.

The fifth song Sacrifice“ is the fastest, but also the least typical song, which offers smart piano arrangements, pounding drums and an exceptional vocal performance. The band can prove their musical all-round talent here. To mention is also the chorus, which has the potential to be addictive. 

„Hymn of the End“ is the finisher, which was released as a single and official lyric video in January 2021. The song is based on a poem by 19th century poet Stephen Crane. Moira once again proves her vocal virtues and the band creates a memorable ending of an impressive work.

And she proves herself also as an exceptional lyricist;  she writes all of the band’s lyrics, with the exception of the songs that have a traditional background, drawing inspiration “from different mythologies and religious traditions, as well as dreams and nature imagery to write about issues of grief and loss, sacrificial love and personal empowerment.“ 

My personal conclusion is extremely positive. The musical concept is coherent and is implemented in a versatile and consistent manner. There are also talented musicians and an incredibly expressive soprano voice, which is a guarantee for the listener’s attention. I’m sure that we will hear a lot more from Oryad, especially since the band’s style cannot necessarily be compared with other bands in the genre. After all, stunning operatic vocals, shredding riffs and emotional melodic songs can’t be wrong. The whole EP has a special, dense atmosphere. In my opinion the music of Oryad cannot be heard casually, preferably you really have to let the music work on you, then it can unfold its full effect. Definitely recommended!


Release Date: June 25, 2021
Label: Independent

01. Inflammatus
Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair
03. Immersion
04. Doxology
05. Sacrifice
06. Hymn Of The End

EP review by: Christian Flack

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