Review: Saor – Aura

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Band of the Day, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Scottish black metaller Saor‘s second record ‘Aura‘, after last year’s breakthrough ‘Roots’, is in a word breathtaking. One of those artists that you hear and then you look up and go, ‘Really? Only ONE guy made this?’ It’s a wow moment. Saor came from Arsaidh, a name change but not a stylistic change. Saor means ‘Free’ in Gaelic, and this record is certainly free. Free of all the one man black metal project trappings.

The production is top notch, infusing Saor’s work with that crucial warmth that lacks in a lot of black metal. This isn’t black metal designed to invoke the frosted North. This is black metal that stirs the souls from misted mountains and ghostly heather. It’s atmospheric and ethereal, while at the same time being full of harsh black metal riffing. There is a great sense of space; songs like ‘Children of the Mist’ breathes, coupling some soaring atmospherics with crashing black metal.

The album art exemplifies perfectly the imagery conjured up by tracks like the title track and the epic closer, ‘Pillars of the Earth’. It merges the chaos and rawness of black metal with the delicate touches of folk and Celtic music. This music FEELS like its cover, in the same way Emperor did on ‘Nightside’ or Panopticon (Austin Lunn from Panopticon drums on ‘Aura’) does on ‘Roads to the North’. The title track itself is a dramatic, powerful statement to the beauty of the Holy Land (as us south of the border Scots refer to it). It works on a subconscious emotional level, making you feel alive and free.

I’m adding this record to my must haves from 2014. It is a great mix of delicate acoustics, soaring black metal and ethereal atmosphere that I just dig at the moment. Scotland’s answer to Wolves in the Throne Room? Quite possibly.

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