Oryad (who we are hoping to do a piece on in the near future) are an independent band, and the album (available now on all platforms, a link here) was released on May 25th.

Fresh from Tennessee (and other corners of the United States), the new album Sacred & Profane by ORYAD, shooting stars of out-of-the-box operatic metal (mixed with black metal/doom metal), is on my downloads and blasting out of the speakers. It’s being served with their doomy video single Blood, which is also, in both sound and image, a heartwarming declaration of love: to the grandmasters of the Italian Giallo cinema in the vein of Mario Bava or Dario Argento.

And who is Oryad? Oryad is made up of Moira Murphy, an international solo operatic artist, and Matt Gotlin-Sheehan on drums. Matt has past experience as a touring metal drummer, jazz musician, and collaborator. 

And now, on to the review

“The Path”: Part 1- A haunting piano with echoing vocals brings us into the album. Have no doubt that this lady can sing and hit the notes perfectly. It is a wistful opening, almost medieval in places. I didn’t entirely know what to expect next!

“Scorched Earth” – and up comes a blistering riff, a heavy drum sound, and Sabbath like guitar. It’s a powerful slice of fast metal.

Moira Murphy

“Blood” – Beethoven’s particularly dark and heavy flavour enlarges the epic opening of  “Blood,” which was the band’s first contribution to Sacred & Profane, albeit only after going through several meticulously crafted iterations. The intro then progresses into a modern, doom-oriented black metal style, adding various string elements and a guitar melody line, before a chugging guitar riff kicks in, which then leads to a heavy, dragging groove accompanied by a double bass pattern on the drums. The video that accompanies this is below, it vocally weaves the pattern into the music, and it is an over-the-top piece blending prog. Rock with metal, opera, and thunder.

“Lilith” in the Bible Lilith dwells in waste places, in Jewish mythology, ( לִילִית)  she is the first wife of Adam, the she-demon. As a song, this is the best on the album, in my view. The vocals are amazing, the music sours, and the whole piece holds together superbly. Lyrically, Lilith is here seeking a place for her soul to dream. The album delves into old mythology and delivers a belter of operatic rock theatre.

Matt Gotlin-Sheehan

“Eve” was the second single from the album, and the band describes it as:

a monologue wherein Eve speaks back to her original tempter, to stand up for her own personhood rather than take the blame for all of humanity’s weaknesses. The poetry was inspired by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Sonnet II in Epitaph for the Race of Man. We loved adding heavy doom and black metal touches to this song to give an edge to one of myth’s mothers of mankind.”

The song is much heavier, with the drums providing a power beat that takes the song forward while the guitar riffs return to Sabbath territory.

“Alchemy”- A solid album track, dark and pondering. It has some smooth guitar work and some interesting layers. Like the album as a whole, the production is slick, and the mix gets it right. Vocals carry the emotion well.

“Wayfaring Stranger” This one starts almost in early Clannad territory and delivers a contemplative track that serves the album well.

“Through the Veil” – operatic, classical, and fascinating. It is another example of how I never knew quite what to expect next! 

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“Slice of Time”- back to the hard rock sound, pounding drums and guitars, then suddenly piano and (almost) a choral touch to the vocals. 

“The Path: Part II” – A short piano led end to the album. These choral style vocals hover through my speakers and complete the cycle of the piece. 

This is a really hard piece to just say a few lines about, it is so diverse, so many shades, and such diversity in the tracks that you can’t just box it. The musicianship is first rate, the vocals are among the best. I can only see this duo heading forward, and we will hear so much more from them in the years to come. 

A link to the bands website

By Stevie Ritson

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