Saor’s February 15 Avantgarde Music release Forgotten Paths feels like a primal roar emerging from the earth itself. That crushing tidal wave emerges filtered through both carefully presented folk music and brutal black metal, both of which combine into a beast not so much sinister as broken. In Forgotten Paths‘ world, we as listeners do not feel like the subjects of the story. Instead, the earth (in a metaphorical sense at least) comes filtered through us, coloring our outlook and shifting us a new direction.
The music feels incredibly experiential. To that end, the mastermind behind Saor — Scotland’s Andy Marshall — blends traditional musical textures that feel very close to our most natural inclinations and familiarly pummeling black metal, utilizing a soulful, soft guitar passage as easily as he engages blast beats, impenetrable riffs, and an overlay of atmosphere as some kind of dark orchestra. Forgotten Paths goes far enough to feature bagpipes. Marshall combines his music’s two extremes into a thriving soundscape and truly allows them to exist right alongside one another, which marks his music as unique. Often, that musical painting takes center stage, with regular minutes-long portions without any vocals. It’s just you and the earth — cycles of pain, unifying triumph, and all.
An easy comparison could be drawn to an artist like Panopticon, the similarly styled American project that also has one man as its mastermind, but that wouldn’t fully cover the nuances Saor present (or those found in Panopticon’s work, for that matter).
Saor, including Marshall and the session musicians who work with him, feel very committed to painting a musical picture of the world around them — as in the actual, natural world. Nothing industrial or modern makes much of an appearance on Forgotten Paths, which pops out as fitting thanks to the title but has deeper reverberations.
In the core of the music itself, Marshall feels like he’s uncovered some paths that may have otherwise been forgotten and pushed them out again into the modern world. He’s kept that neverending boat ride through our existences here going, letting the music keep playing for that much longer. He feels as though he’s tapped into an ancient stream of inspiration and infused and updated our modern experience with its contents.
Saor will be performing for the first time in the United States at 2019’s edition of the Fire in the Mountains festival in Wyoming.
Listen below via Bandcamp.