Effigies and Epitaphs is the debut album of Tad Piecka, aka Petrychor. It is progressive black metal that evokes images of the encroachment of human civilization on to the unspoiled primitive beauty of nature --- or perhaps the other way round, with mankind succumbing to the pressure of time and entropy. The tone is alternately earthy and ethereal, with virtuosic accoustic passages reminiscent of James Blackshaw or Six Organs of Admittance giving way to a relentless, almost euphoric vortex of noise.
When the blastbeats kick in, it’s overpowering stuff; simultaneously oppressive and trance-inducing. Machinegun percussion, Piecka’s impressive shredding and the vocal rasp can often barely be discerned over the chaos, which will suddenly segue into passages of astonishing delicacy (listen to the piano interlude in Beneath Highway and Street). There are few comparisons; the closest I can think of are The Angelic Process, or perhaps a black metal My Bloody Valentine. These songs are a force of nature: they do not bludgeon, they erode.
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