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Saor – Origins Award winner

Saor
Origins
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 20 June 2022, 10:40 AM

SAOR means free, without obligations, unconstrained. All of these characteristics are intrinsic to the music of SAOR, the musical entity spearheaded by sole member Andy Marshall. As a lone wanderer proudly shouting the tales and myths of his people, his culture and his region from the tops of misty Caledonian mountains for the wind to carry, Andy has carved a solitary, yet strikingly inspiring path with SAOR ever since "Roots,” his first album laid deep…roots, indeed! The newest offering here contains six tracks.

“Call of the Carnyx” leads off the album. It opens with clean guitars and some tense tones. The lead guitar notes are solemn and majestic. Drums roll in slowly, until the main riff carries the melody. The vocals usher in a more Folky and dreamy sound, but the aggressive riff keeps the Metal sound alive. “Fallen” begins with a jovial swing and harsh vocals. The background is quite full of other elements like lead guitars and gun-fire drums. As a result, the sound is both thick and clear. The Folky sounding leads and simulated bagpipes after the half-way mark bring a totally different sound with it.

“The Ancient Ones” opens with soft and charming tones that are augmented over a bed of a meaty Metal landscape. The verses begin with clean vocals but lead to a thickened passage of harsh vocals amidst a Black Metal sound. But oh, that melody that follows is smooth and pretty. The dreamier elements are probably the most pleasing part of this song. “Aurora” is an eight-minute beast. It begins with a slow fade in of tense bass notes and some background winds swelling. The bass runs with a hasty groove while lead guitar provides some sentimental elements. The combination of harsh and clean vocals keeps the song straddling a few different genres, but wonderous melodies win here. The ending sequence here is so very emotional.

“Beyond the Wall” opens with a thunderstorm and a fuller Black Metal sound…a wall of guitars, galloping drums, and some subtle melodies. Although the sound is rougher here, the melody is still in the forefront, and it opens up nicely towards the end. “Origins” closes the album. Clean, jovial sounds open the song before the aggressive riff comes busting in. Following this harsh sequence, the skies open up, with bright rays of sun pouring in, enveloping you in their warmth. Bask in their glory, for it is real. Stand still, and soak it in, because if this song doesn’t move you to near tears, you might want to make sure that you are still breathing. Andy saved the most poignant tones for the end of this splendid album.

Those familiar with this band will recognize the album as another step in the evolution of the band. Those who aren’t familiar with them will need to explore their discography immediately. The feeling that Andy has in his compositions is second to none. He combines several genres of melody with a flawless touch…one that is so fragile but also so strong it could not be broken by mortal means alone. Talk about beauty…this album has so many beautiful elements for the listener to enjoy, but the thick backbone of aggressive Metal keeps the album so well grounded.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Call of the Carnyx
2. Fallen
3. The Ancient Ones
4. Aurora
5. Beyond the Wall
6. Origins
Lineup:
Andy Marshall – All Instruments, Vocals
Record Label: Season of Mist Records
     


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Edited 06 July 2022
 

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