Saor - Guardians review




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Reviewer:
8.4

124 users:
8.34
Band: Saor
Album: Guardians
Release date: November 2016


01. Guardians
02. The Declaration
03. Autumn Rain
04. Hearth
05. Tears Of A Nation


Bracing winds blow heavy mists across the ancient hillocks, vertebrae of soil trodden and venerated over millennia rising and falling like waves. Distant crows balefully cast their distinctive, corvine calls toward daybreak. Slowly, the weary earth awakens from its slumber. Cloistered somewhere in the verdant valley, bagpipes skirl into life, and the song begins anew. Saor returns.

As with Roots and Aura before it, Guardians harnesses the sound and the feeling of the wind, coming and going in dynamic squalls that never break the current of the atmosphere. Though rooted in black metal, Saor has very little in common with the recognizable forms of the genre; surging guitar riffs and blastbeats abound, but Saor is not an angry band. Even at its heaviest, Guardians avoids battering the listener with muscular riffage and back-breaking percussion. All the elements of the music exist in harmony, complementing each other and running together in a fluid stream of serene chaos. The tension accumulates and dissipates at a natural pace, raining tempestuous tremolo picking and hoarse growls over a firm, earthy base of drums, violin, flute, and keyboards. Despite the blizzard of motion and multitude of melody lines, Guardians has more of an ambient quality than anything else; this album's raison d'être is atmosphere-building, not cranking out standalone segments of music.

Andy Marshall's vocals remain ethereal and subordinate to the instrumentation, traveling across the music like echoes through a valley. Guardians weaves the wonders of its legend not through lyrics or by shoving one melody or another to the front, but through the gestalt of its many rich layers. Blustery waves of light, enrapturing sound, filled with instrument upon instrument interlocking in sweet euphony, sweep across the face of the album with the unadorned yet supremely grand presence of a natural wonder. Saor's music has an almost effortless beauty, as if it were not so much written and recorded as prescribed to exist by the land itself.

Each discrete thread of the album works in some way to the benefit of the whole piece. The dazzling guitars that sing "The Declaration" to its rest, the weeping violins that gently coax "Autumn Rain" into being, the clarion whistling of the flutes, the rocky and weatherbeaten tone of the vocals - every aspect is authentic to the spirit of the album. I'm reminded of Devin Townsend's Terria, Woods Of Ypres's Woods IV, or anything by Fen, Thrawsunblat or Primordial; the music seeps out of the earth itself with a raw and primal beauty that makes the landscape depicted on the cover realer than what you see before you.

The vibrant, beautiful crescendo of "Tears Of A Nation" brings Guardians to its fullest being with the most impassioned and inspired melodies yet. This final song truly makes the album feel like the soundtrack to the life of a glorious nation, filled with the valorous spirit and enchanting songs of its people. Guardians continues the journey of Roots and Aura, but brings their sound to a triumphant climax the likes of which Andy Marshall has not before accomplished.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 18.10.2016 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 331 users
18.10.2016 - 22:34
Bad English
Masterchief
Excellent words, I know a bit more something what will follow, what cold winds from highlands will blow some truth and some explanations. There are no st. ann (if you can catch my drift) , there are nature, and solitude, as in old dats people misunderstood technology thought those were gods, but actually UFO; same todays ppl don't understand what is black metal anyway nice one I have heard 3 songs so far

a bot DerRoz metaphoric use in beginning
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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18.10.2016 - 23:20
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Looking forward to this one! Good review
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19.10.2016 - 00:56
Susan
Smeghead
Everyone lost their shit over Saor's last album and I was so bored with it. I'm not inclined to give them another chance except that your review is soooooo beautifully written. Words like this are hard to ignore
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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19.10.2016 - 07:18
3rdWorld
The Psilosopher
Written by Bad English on 18.10.2016 at 22:34

Excellent words, I know a bit more something what will follow, what cold winds from highlands will blow some truth and some explanations. There are no st. ann (if you can catch my drift) , there are nature, and solitude, as in old dats people misunderstood technology thought those were gods, but actually UFO; same todays ppl don't understand what is black metal anyway nice one I have heard 3 songs so far

a bot DerRoz metaphoric use in beginning

Let alone the awesome review and album but what is this? Just one typo in the entire post.
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19.10.2016 - 15:15
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Written by 3rdWorld on 19.10.2016 at 07:18

Just one typo in the entire post.

Perhaps it's Bad EngIish speaking instead of Bad English, like in the sb?
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2016

2017
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19.10.2016 - 18:20
ScreamingSteelUS
Agent of Steel
Written by Belegûr on 18.10.2016 at 23:20

Looking forward to this one! Good review

Thanks!
Written by Susan on 19.10.2016 at 00:56

Everyone lost their shit over Saor's last album and I was so bored with it. I'm not inclined to give them another chance except that your review is soooooo beautifully written. Words like this are hard to ignore

Thank you! It took me multiple attempts to get into Saor, and I'd still say that I don't quite like the last couple as much as everyone else does, but I thought Guardians was beautiful. It's at least worth a shot.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.
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19.10.2016 - 18:54
3rdWorld
The Psilosopher
Written by Karlabos on 19.10.2016 at 15:15

Perhaps it's Bad EngIish speaking instead of Bad English, like in the sb?

Thats what I suspected as well but the user id points to 5933 which is our one and only the striborg-shaming K7.
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24.10.2016 - 22:59
Dark Cornatus
Powerslave
Written by Susan on 19.10.2016 at 00:56

Everyone lost their shit over Saor's last album and I was so bored with it. I'm not inclined to give them another chance except that your review is soooooo beautifully written. Words like this are hard to ignore

Not even the song Aura of the same titled album? I think i listened to that one alone 50+ times
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05.11.2016 - 16:36
Panterica
I find it hard to imagine that I'll like the music, but I thoroughly enjoyed the review.
It reminded me of Mindheist's review of Tales of the Sands by Myrath. Sadly enough, that actually was a case of me liking the review better than the music.
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Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem
https://www.facebook.com/LiedBandMusic
http://lied-band.bandcamp.com/
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15.11.2016 - 07:51
ToMegaTherion
This is one very solid album - the more I hear it the more I like it. The atmosphere is beautiful and dark and a very worth addition for any fans of Summoning or Primodial.
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The Darker Side of Metal - Metal Reviews and Discussions
http://thedarkersideofmetal.blogspot.com.au/
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