Oryad – Sacred And Profane
Formed in 2018, Oryad is Matt and Moira writing the songs and Moira writing the lyrics. They are a metal alloy, blending Doom, Symphonic, Gothic, Power, Progressive, and Dark Metals. Add to this Jazz, Rock, and World Music, and you have a hybrid that does not exist anywhere else. They have a unique sound that fits into many categories and will definitely hit one you love. Moira’s clean, operatic style vocals soar over the bombastic rhythms that are solidly anchored by Matt, creating beauty in many forms and shapes.
- Moira Murphy – Vocals/Piano/Synthesizers/Orchestration
- Matt Gotlin-Sheehan – Drums
May 25, 2023
- The Path: Part I
- Scorched Earth
- Wayfaring Stranger
- Through The Veil
- Slice Of Time
- The Path: Part II
You get a haunting, ethereal, melancholy intro track, “The Path, Part I,” to set the stage for the rest of the album. The layered vocalizations, done in full-blown classical pageantry, supported by strings and tribal-style drums, bring this record to life elegantly.
Then the power starts. “Scorched Earth” has a guitar riff that reminds me of “Titanium” from Phantom Elite, one of my new favorite bands. Marina from PE is more Power Metal, whereas Moira is more operatic/classical in her vocal approach, so there are distinct differences. Moira has a majesty to her voice. The ambient orchestration, including the horns, adds a lot of tonality to the track, but the intricate drumming patterns of Matt stand out early on. The shifts in tempo and phrasing are pretty spectacular.
Then, just to throw you off, they bring out the upbeat, old-timey piano to lead off the next track, “Blood.” The pianos that run through this song are a serious throwback. The way they are integrated into the rhythm creates an almost visceral tension. The same goes for the ranging of the voice and the choppy rhythm with the sweeping guitar work. The song inspires eerie, creepy feelings that keep the listener on their toes until the final piano notes lead to the crashing ending.
“Lilith” and “Eve” both have haunting intros that lead to songs that build into powerhouse vocals performances. The tracks have their ebbs and flows, highs and lows that are emphasized by the instrumentation and the voice. Then you get “Alchemy,” another throwback tune that harkens back to a forgone era before returning to the present. The weaving through time Oryad does is intentional and beautiful. The story is told through music and words, making you feel the music as much as you hear it.
“Wayfaring Stranger” is the Power Ballad and the section of the journey that begs for introspection and contemplation. More layers are added to the album to build the picture and help create the mental movie. This is the long trek through the meadowlands, heading for the distant shores, trying to get to where you long to be.
The whispers and strings that bring “Through The Veil” to life and lead to the pianos, which bring in the voice, create continuity, a thread in the music that ties the song together. Everything is so carefully written and recorded. Everything is in the right place at the right time. Every song leads to the next one, carrying the story forward with a timeliness that is beautiful to behold.
Getting back to the heaviness, “Slice Of Time” is a hard-driving, heavy-riffed track with a few stunning melodic turns. As much as I love Moira’s voice on all of this record, this is the song where I feel she absolutely lets loose. The warbles and wavers and vibrato she exhibits throughout the song are incredible. Her control is world-class. Then, the album closes as it opened with a haunting melody, “The Path Part II,” that brings the album full circle, closing it as precisely and beautifully as it started.
One of the things about this album is the music is powerful enough to support the voice. Some bands have a voice this big but do not bring the music along with it. The voice carries the music rather than the music supporting the singer. Oryad does not make that mistake. The compositions are big, bold, airy, and have their own weight. The whole thing is built to be a single unit designed to withstand the elements.
The orchestration is bold where it needs to be, subdued when it has to be. The voice weaves in and out of the music, peaking at just the right moment, only to plummet while the rhythm soars and the guitars fill the air with delicate brutality. This entire album has been lovingly crafted with layers of nuance and ambiance. Even the quiet is planned to supply the necessary space. This feels like a journey through time and space rather than a collection of songs.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 10
- Overall – 10.00