California hipster black metal alert! Petrychor's Tad Piecka may look like a bit of a hipster, but don't let that fool you. In the past, hipsters have proven to be very capable of writing brilliant albums, like Deafheaven for example. I'm well aware that I might lose my black metal street cred but I honestly don't care what kind of background you are from. A great black metal album is a great black metal album, period. So what if you have a fashionable haircut (and beard to match) and wear plaid shirts? I could not care less. Just as long as you genuinely believe in what you create.
Now, Petrychor has already released an EP ('Dryad') and a full-length ('Effigies and Epitaphs'), both which were very well-received within the underground. And rightly so, because on both of those releases Tad displayed an incredible feeling for atmosphere, as well as amazing musicianship. He is definetely not a metal musician exclusively, and has several totally non-metal related projects as well. Traditional rock, ambient, guitarpicking folk, poppy electronica, noise, he really is a very diverse musician. And quite a bit of those influences find their way into Petrychor. But instead of becoming a totally incoherent mess, Tad manages to make it all sound very natural and organic.
'Makrokosmos' is a natural continuation of the previous releases. While 'Dryad' and 'Effigies and Epitaphs' focused on the nature side of things, 'Makrokosmos' takes us from this earth and into outer space. He sets the tone with a 4 minute space-y ambient intro to the opening track 'The place where the red stars hang' before exploding into full-on epic black metal complete with Summoning-style martial drums, flamenco/folk interludes combined with electronic beats, (faux?) saxophone and ambient passages. It would take far too long to describe all the tracks in detail, but all of them sound like a total space journey, with shredding guitarsolos, arpeggiated synths, shrieking vocals as well as soaring clean vocals, kosmische ambient and even more flamenco style guitarpicking. The final track 'Cosmic irrelevance does not suggest terrestrial insignificance' is straight up ambient with effected black metal shrieks. Some of the elements might feel out of place when you read this, but as I said, Tad has a unique way of making it sound coherent. Kosmische and flamenco in one track? Yes please!
Tad also recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered everything himself and I really like how the album sounds. A similar murky, droning sound like on the previous releases which totally suits the atmosphere. It is very heavy on the synth, with the guitars buzzing in the depths, only to explode in furious treble-heavy noisy leadguitar in a heartbeat. It wouldn't be that difficult for him to make it sound more polished, but he wisely chooses to give it more underground feel to it. It is remarkable what he achieves here all on his own.
What's even more remarkable is that Tad releases all of his projects pretty much for free (or a small price) on Bandcamp. And not just crappy sounding amateurish stuff either, all of it is of a very high standard. To have such an attitude in this day and age is highly commendable and I strongly urge you to support this and check out his music.