Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Saor "Forgotten Paths" (2019)

My introduction to Saor was a breath of fresh air beginning with their sophomore record Aura. Out from the now decades old genre of Black Metal that so routinely falls into its own established tropes, Saor introduced a soaring gleam of bright, triumphant, heathen melody to counteract its dark underbelly of blast beats, tremolo guitars and burly, gaunt screams. It may not have been an original twist on the sound but its execution was sublime and deeply inspired by Marshall's Scottish heritage and countryside. The following Guardians record was more of the same and had less of an impact on me. It may be the absence, or more likely the music but this new release has been a very fond listen for me these past two weeks.

The luscious and melodic side of the music feels expanded upon, a beautiful piano interlude middle of the opening title track and a entire song, Exile, dedicated to nostalgic folk sounds half a step away from Fief in the best of ways. This obvious expansion resonates in the lead guitars that gleam and glow, leading every song forward like a light carving the path through the pale on its epic journeys. Soaring with reverb and inflecting glorious melodies it rises high above the fury of beastly screams and pummeling drums, making its most abrasive sections feel bright and inspiring.

Through the loud and obvious instruments, pagan violins and glossy pianos shape tone and mood with a dose of folk and heritage that never leaves the music. Its a constant delight that makes the sound engulfing. Even in their quiet parts the lead guitar once again soaks you in the dazzle of its glimmering light. With three lengthy ten minute plus songs the music can hold this sense of constant beauty and epic without faultering. Bron is the darkest of the three and even it can find this stunning flicker of light in the black as its cultural elements blossom along the songs epic progression. Things really came together on this album and I can't recommend it enough.

Rating: 8/10