Probably the best thing that it’s possible to say for a music record is that you would never want it to end once you started listening to it. And this is the feeling I had as soon as I played for the first time Saor’s new LP in my stereo. Forgotten Paths, the newest and fourth LP from the Scottish atmospheric black metal project, is in fact so fluid and compelling that you would like to stay as long as possible in the company of such beautiful music.
As all the fans of this genre of music already know, Saor is the one-man project of Andy Marshall, a musician who has shown so far impressive perseverance and a constant search for improvement. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible to explain how every new release from Saor is objectively stronger than the previous one.
From a musical point of view, Forgotten Paths fits into that category of atmospheric, nature-inspired and folk-infused black metal that sees bands like Panopticon and Alcest among the best modern interpreters. In this respect, Saor’s latest effort doesn’t depart too much from the standard. What’s truly unique in this album, however, is how the melodies and the black metal sounds are so naturally merged together, to such an extent that the four songs of the new LP seem almost the natural transposition in music of a more universal and cosmic language. So many times we have listened to bands and albums in which the folk and metal components meet in a rather forced, not spontaneous, manner. Here, on the contrary, I’m not able to imagine the same beautiful melodies reproduced in a different way from how I hear them on the LP. In addition to this, in Forgotten Paths I appreciate a truly enjoyable sense of optimism and positivity. Although it may contrast a little with part of the black metal imagery, it makes the disc more satisfying to listen to.
I’ve always had a very good consideration of Andy Marshall and his production with Saor. His new record does not only confirm the positive opinion I had so far, but it further increases the amazement for the technical skills and the musical sensibility of an artist who’s becoming, release after release, one of the reference figures of atmospheric black metal.
My rating for Saor’s new LP is 7.5/10. The album consists of four long tracks, and the first part of the record is, in my opinion, the most impressive one, thanks to a couple of really engaging and breathtaking songs: the title track Forgotten Paths and Monadh.