Since its formation in 2013, Saor has continually evolved while remaining boldly faithful to its Scottish heritage. Forged by the vision of the band’s founder Andy Marshall, SAOR (meaning “Free” in Scottish Gaelic) has a uniquely expressive approach that dives deep into lyrical themes based on literature, landscapes, history, sorrow, nature, and the majestic mountains of his homeland.
Expertly transitioning between atmospheric black metal, Celtic folk, and traditional Scottish sounds – the wildly exploratory music of Saor knows no limitations and seeks out every opportunity to expand on its potential.
For the past two years, Saor has been writing and recording an all-new set of powerful songs for the highly-anticipated release of the latest record “Forgotten Paths”, coming out on the 15th February 2019 via Avantgarde Music.
You don’t need me to tell you that the four tracks that make up Forgotten Paths are all epics in every sense of the word. Delivering unparalleled beauty, sadness, atmosphere and black metal heaviness, this is a journey of an album.
The title track gets us started on the long and winding path with a high-tempo, melodious first half that sets a scene of high mountains, clear skies and hope. Then unexpectedly it stops before switching to sweet and sorrowful keyboard melody and gorgeous Scottish atmospheres which builds in volume allowing the guitars and drums to make themselves known again. It’s wonderfully inspiring and a great start to the album. Even before the black metal based vocals come roaring in, there is not doubt this is one of the best tracks of 2019 already.
Amazingly, Monadh improves on that by really making the Scottish soundscapes more prevalent. The guitar work and vocals are simply sublime here and it’s very hard to not shed a tear as the sadness of the melody takes over. Somehow…somehow…a better track then the title track.
We then get some really moody and fuzzy black metal noise with Bròn. That quickly picks up in pace for a much more traditional heavy start. Unsurprisingly it does not stay this way for long. As we get mournful female vocals joining in with the intense rhythm and a flute becoming more prevalent. It eventually gives way to traditional sounding Scottish folk melody that blends wonderfully with the bleakness of the black metal. Another astoundingly good track.
Why does it have to end? Why couldn’t it just keep going on and on? Saor say their goodbyes with a short one. Called Exile, it sees the journey end in the most downbeat way possible with mournful keyboard melody. We made it but was it worth it?
Yes it bloody was.
Saor – Forgotten Paths Full Track Listing:
1. Forgotten Paths
Saor - Forgotten Paths (Avantgarde Music)
The Final Score - 10/10