Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal Epic Black Metal Folk Black Metal
Label: Darker Than Black Records
Back in 2006 a wonderful epic folk black metal project, Askival, was formed by its one and only member Andy Marshall from Scotland. After the release of the promising debut album “Eternity” in 2009, Andy announced the end of Askival to the great disappointment of his fans. Luckily on 2012 he started a new one-man-project under the name Àrsaidh and in 2013 the debut full-length album “Roots” was released via Darker Than Black Records. Soon after the release of the album, Andy decided to change the band’s name into Saor, since Àrsaidh caused problems in pronouncing and writing it digitally. This time though it’s only a name change, not affecting the musical style of the band.
This surprisingly wonderful debut album is one of the best works this year for sure! “Roots” includes 3 long epic compositions and a short instrumental track, clocking at about 50 minutes. Saor’s music can be described as atmospheric epic metal with black metal and Celtic folk elements. Their songs move in melancholic slow to mid-tempo rhythms, full of excellent melodies and a unique epic nostalgic feeling. You will find atmospheric post black metal elements in their sound, pagan black metal outbursts and some of the best folk tunes you’ve ever listened, either by violins, flutes, bagpipes or other traditional instruments. Andy’s vocals are closer to pagan black metal style and his passionate screams cry out his hidden sadness and sorrow. He also uses a few epic clean male vocals and atmospheric whispers in the more tranquil parts. Saor have a relatively warm sound in their music, even if most of their melodies are quite melancholic. They have found a very thin balance between hope, longing and despair. Their songs have a very epic atmosphere, but not that of battles, warriors etc. It’s something like this unexplained emotion of satisfaction and awe you feel for the beauty and grandiose of nature. All lyrics are in English of course and their music is deeply influenced by Scottish heritage, nature and sorrow…
“Roots” is a really remarkable work, that almost every metal fan who likes atmospheric melodic metal in general should check. Maybe it’s only the debut album of Saor, but it comes with a professional production and a wonderful sound perfect for the genre. Andy is already working on the songs for the second album, so this band seems to have future! “Roots” is released by Darker Than Black Records in a beautiful 6-panel digipak, with brilliant artwork by Kogaion Art, matching the quality of their music. “Roots” is released under the name Àrsaidh, so you maybe have to keep that in mind if you can’t find it. You can visit their official pages and listen to their music.