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Review: Saor - Guardians

Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year released: 2016
Duration: 55:56
Tracks: 5
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: January 24, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating

Rated 4.3/5 (86%) (10 Votes)

Music has the unique and beautiful ability to shape our mood, lift our spirits and take us to a different reality – one that often antagonizes with the cruelties of our own. Of course, in Heavy Metal, this journey can be to a better, warmer place, or a depressive and disturbing one (that's right, we like to suffer); be it as it may, it is one of the only forms of expression and art that has this effect, but the ones who craft it need to know what the hell they're doing, otherwise it's just plain garbage. There are only a handful of genres that explore the more depressive and innermost dense aspects of life, like Doom and Atmospheric Black, and inside those there are even less acts that can capture the essence of these aspects and turn it into something special. And here is where Saor comes in.

The Scottish one-man army brought to life by Andy Marshall is in its third endeavor to the depths of the Gaelic culture, and once again delivers with a wonderful rendition of the mix of Black and Folk Metal. With few sung parts, Guardians almost feels like ambient music created for the only purpose of journeying through the highlands to discover the ancient, sorrowful secrets of the northern part of the world. Every element used by Marshall in the past albums is here, from characteristic Celtic instruments such as the fiddle, flute and bagpipes, to the harsh particularities of the Black Metal genre like guttural vocal passages, intense drumming and heavy leads.

It's hard for me to highlight a specific song or part of the album, as the whole experience intertwines the tracks, making for one big opus. There are absolutely no low points here, just top-notch writing, soulful performance and ace execution. Andy Marshall managed to capture the essence of his motherland and turn it into art in the form of a ravaging and blissful album. Perhaps I'm a little bit blinded by personal taste as this is one of my favorite albums of 2016, second only to Insomnium's Winter Gate, so I'm failing to see some minor setbacks here and there, but rest assured that Guardians is one of the most deep, detailed, passionate and erudite experiences you'll get in a 2016 release. I cannot recommend this enough.

Other related information on the site
Review: Forgotten Paths (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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