*RESTOCK* Saor - Forgotten Paths - LP White vinyl - Limited to 100

By Saor
$36.00 CAD
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BBV Import - Italy. White Vinyl Limited to 100 of this masterpiece - perfect for fall! Note that some copies have a small ding in the corner

Among the hordes of black metal bands that have arisen from the UK in the past decade or so, like Ninkharsag or Winterfylleth, the Scottish one-man project Saor is the most sonically creative. Since his first full-length, Roots, back in 2013, Andy Marshall has been the sole proprietor of the Saor name, performing all instruments and vocals for all four albums - including this year's Forgotten Paths. I was never in any doubt of what would emerge from this effort; lengthy, atmospheric black metal compositions replete with beautiful soaring folk melodies and stunning album art to match. I was not wrong. Andy seems incapable of writing low-quality music. Admittedly, I was initially disappointed at this album's length. Forgotten Paths is at least 13 minutes shorter than his next shortest album, and it rides the fine line between anticipation and dissatisfaction. The folk instruments really come into their own here. The melodies on Guardians may have been more obviously pronounced but, on Forgotten Paths, they fuse with the clamorous black metal beneath and become integral to the compositional structure of each track. In fact, the whole of the latter half of "Monadh" is built around one simple folk melody, being built up and up to a grandiose conclusion. This kind of textural crescendo feels so much more natural and Marshall has nailed the art. The other tracks are constructed differently; the title-track being more of a tertiary piece containing a celestial, almost ethereal, middle-section with a superbly contrapuntal texture. At the eight-minute mark, you won't believe that there are at least seven instruments/voices all playing different lines yet somehow all working together in sublime harmony. When this reaches it's furious climax around the 9:30 point, it leaves me almost satisfyingly exhausted. Hold on to the moments like these, they are what give this album 100% replay value.