Friday, November 21, 2014

Saor: "Aura"

From the hills of Scotland comes some impressive atmospheric black metal. Saor's second album opens with"Children of the mist". The song kicks off the album with  haunting flute providing the back drop to a very jaggedly staccato take on folk metal. There is some frolic in what they do, off set by the low roar of the vocals. That are overdubbed in a manner that makes it sound like a drunken gang of vikings. Clean vocals chime in around the roaring. The album sweeps you away with in on the first song, only the Killswitch Engage bro metal like punches that crop up leave you to scratch your head as every thing else makes perfect sense for this kind of thing. The blast beats that fight against the big synth bath toward the end of the song, before the war drums come in sounds like it is in the distance and the whole thing has a very soundtrack like quality until they blaze back in.

The title track starts with soothing ambiance before the call to battle goes back out. The guitars seem to be in constant melody mode, in some ways this reminds me of Summoning.  The flute sound is very similar to the one employed in the first song. The title track is a little more straight forward in it's charge forward, throwing in the typical blast beat pattern mid way into the fight. There are glimpses of cool riffs, that jump at at you but the song is one massive wave of action packed melodrama, until at the 8:40 mark it breaks all the way down into faint guitar. "The Awakening" begins with the emphasis on the folk atmosphere. There is a cool tribal pound at six and a half minutes into this one.

The pacing that sets "Farewell" in motion helps distinguish it from the other songs, that all eventually dive head first into a blast beat section.Once again the flute returns to a similar place until the black metal section unfold and gives this song another stamp to set it apart from the others.They pound into some of the heavier sections with a majestic authority. The wider scope of dynamic placement in this songs arrangement, helps to allow each section to unfold to the best of it's ability rather than throwing everything at you at once. The war drums rise again on the closing song "Pillars of the Earth". The guitar sound changes to a clean strum that brings a much needed change of sonics. It crashes down into a weird lof-fi section of black metal that sounds like it was recorded in some one's basement rather than the studio the rest of the album was recorded in. It is a denser and heavier sound, but not as refined ,so much of what they do get lost in the murk. Closing in on the ten minute mark they do transition into a more graceful melodic section while the rough-hewn drumming thunders under . These guys achieve the sound they set out to accomplish at sometimes it goes slightly weird of center and the flute can be over done, but it is one of the better efforts to combine black metal with folk, so fans of Summoning take note. I'll give it an 8.

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