Friday, June 13, 2014

Saor - Aura (2014)
Saor (formerly Arsaidh) may not be a household name in black metal, but this album might just change that. Featuring breathtaking atmospherics, soaring folk melodies, and unearthly roars from the vocalist, this is a epic album in every sense of the word. The band being from Scotland, it's easy to see why they chose to make an album like this since it evokes the incredible beauty of that land so well. One can easily imagine standing on a mountain in the Highlands peering over the fog and just being in awe of your surroundings. The album can demonstrate immense power one moment and emotional fragility the very next. It's those kinds of powerful emotions and imagery that are the album's appeal to me and doubtless many other fans. Every one of the five tracks flows extremely well and tells its own story making for a highly cohesive album. And what's truly unique about this album is that despite its beauty and grandeur, it's still sounds raw and intense with the with the frenetic, intense drumming being a particular highlight for me. Where this album suffers though is mainly on the production. Admittedly, I really don't know anything about production from a technical aspect but from an aesthetic aspect, it somehow feels awkward on this album. Perhaps if it were a bit more polished like on the last Summoning record it would have been even stronger. Another, more minor beef I have is that there are a few too many similarities between the songs. An acoustic interlude or two might have been nice too. Despite those issues, this is an amazing record that, like last year's new Summoning and the Caladan Brood debut album, will probably go down as one of black metal's most unique and awe-inspiring.

(Special thanks to Northern Silence Productions for a sending me a promo copy.)

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