Saor
Aura


5.0
classic

Review

by The Cynical Jew USER (1 Reviews)
June 16th, 2014 | 188 replies | 12,559 views


Release Date: 06/06/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Riding into battle on the rolling hills...

18 of 18 thought this review was well written

Atmospheric black metal is a specific area of extreme metal that relies heavily on the concept of immersion. When used effectively, atmospheric black metal can create a wide variety of soundscapes, ranging from Summoning’s meticulously detailed and epic portrait of Middle Earth to the harsh winter landscapes crafted by Paysage d’Hiver. In order for a band to stand out among the rest, it must have its own unique identity. Of any emerging bands in the genre of atmospheric black metal, none show more promise than the Scottish band known as Saor.

Last year, Saor, then under the name of Arsaidh released their debut album, Roots, to near universal critical acclaim. With Roots, Saor was able to craft a beautiful and vast setting of the Scottish hillsides through an amalgamation of black metal, Celtic folk and post rock. With their latest release, Aura, Saor managed to not only top their previous effort, but also craft one of the finest examples of atmospheric black metal in years.

With Aura, Saor managed to improve on almost every single area of their previous release. The unique blend of genres is still present, however this time with a stronger presence of black metal influence. The album’s five tracks transport the listener to a battle on the misty Scottish hills through the use of traditional Scottish flutes and strings alongside pounding drums and vicious guitar riffs to create a beautiful, yet war torn setting. Aura manages to keep its epic presence throughout the entirety of its runtime with no sign of ever letting its atmosphere take the backseat. At some points, the music itself feels alive, as seen in the end of the title track, which uses soaring flutes that come over the listener with a vast, yet beautiful presence.

The musicianship shown on Aura is all around spectacular. Andy Marshall’s roaring vocal performance is akin to that of a Celtic warrior barking his battle cries and leading his kinsmen into battle. However, when Marshall’s roars are paired alongside the group chanted vocals, the scale of the atmosphere is presented to the point where it actually sounds like a battle between hundreds or even thousands of people. The album has a collection of infectious and energizing riffs and guitar work that remain consistent throughout Aura’s entirety, with highlights being the galloping riffs of “The Awakening” and the main riff that kicks off the opening track, “Children of The Mist”. The traditional folk instruments create a sort of equilibrium between Aura’s beauty and ferocity. Another one of the instrumental highlights of the album is the absolutely outstanding drum performance from Panopticon’s Austin Dunn, which perfectly conveys the sounds of clashing steel and marching warriors on this blood soaked, Scottish battlefield.

Saor’s latest album has all the elements that are needed to be a seminal atmospheric black metal album. Aura is able to immerse the listener to the point where one could perfectly visualize the scenes conveyed through the music itself. Saor has not only raised the bar for themselves, but for the entirety of atmospheric black metal.


user ratings (120)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
emester
June 16th 2014



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Constructive criticism is encouraged. Even though this is my first review, I still would like to hear any ways I can improve for the future! :D

Digging: Panopticon - Roads to the North

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Of any emerging bands in the genre of atmospheric black metal, none show more promise than the Scottish band known as Saor.


Saor's a one man act, despite the inclusion of a featured drummer.

When used effectively, atmospheric black metal can create a wide variety of soundscapes, ranging from Summoning’s meticulously detailed and epic portrait of Middle Earth to the harsh winter landscapes crafted by Paysage d’Hiver. In order for a band to stand out among the rest, it must have its own unique identity.


Great descriptions of other bands, but I question the use in this review. I know you want to say that Saor has its own identity when compared to other acts within the genre, but if you do a little more research you'll find that Saor is actually pretty similar to a host of other names, just done so so much better.

Your second paragraph is actually quite good, it's concise and quickly covers the previous release, getting back on topic.

___________________________________________________More on the next post.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yes stoked to read

Digging: The Who - Tommy

BMDrummer
June 16th 2014



4462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice first review, and I guess you got some of my proofreading stuff. This sounds cool, will add as my latest dig

Digging: Svffer - Lies We Live

emester
June 16th 2014



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Saor's a one man act, despite the inclusion of a featured drummer."

I know. I was a bit stuck on that because I really don't want to constantly interchange the band's name with Andy Marshall. Just seemed a bit lopsided to me.

But yeah I 100% get where your coming from

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album ruuuules

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The unique blend of genres is still present, however this time with a stronger presence of black metal influence.


I'd question the use of "however" here, you're not really trying to contradict that statement, maybe a different phrasing here would suggest you're trying to bring both the blend of post rock and atmospheric black metal together. Keep in mind what you've got works, but it kills any of the flow in that paragraph.

The album’s five tracks transport the listener to a battle on the misty Scottish hills through the use of traditional Scottish flutes and strings alongside pounding drums and vicious guitar riffs to create a beautiful, yet war torn setting.


Remove the either the first or second "Scottish" and allow which ever you keep to maintain the heritage the music suggests throughout. This rams the fact that there's a Scottish heritage down the readers' throat. Your descriptions though are spot on, once I'm done throwing some pointers I'll link you my review for this.

Another one of the instrumental highlights of the album is the absolutely outstanding drum performance from Panopticon’s Austin Dunn, which perfectly conveys the sounds of clashing steel and marching warriors on this blood soaked, Scottish battlefield.


A slightly stretched piece of imagery, you'll be better off keeping it simple rather than throwing almost copious amounts of stretched metaphors or overly cinematic descriptions on to simple pieces (although well done) of instrumentation.

I feel your conclusion needs a little more fleshing out, it ends abruptly without conveying your thoughts at a detail to explain a 5/5 rating. You may not have mentioned any negatives (which is fine for a full scored review) but you need to make sure you're not rushing it.

emester
June 16th 2014



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I feel like I rushed it a bit. With my final exams coming up Im pretty burnt out tbh. any way to edit reviews?

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know. I was a bit stuck on that because I really don't want to constantly interchange the
band's name with Andy Marshall. Just seemed a bit lopsided to me.


It's a small nit-pick, but if you're ever it doubt while proofreading, ctrl + f will normally
prevent you from repeating things like an unnecessary douche. Helps me so much I normally suffer
from an unwillingness to proofread my own reviews properly.


I pos'd, it's one of the better first reviews I've read over the last few years.

Any way here's mine for a gander:
http://thesonicsensory.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/saor-
aura/


NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

any way to edit reviews?


On your profile page under your profile picture should be an "edit albums/reviews" option.

emester
June 16th 2014



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks really appreciate the feedback!

Also I really wanted to avoid bringing up Falloch like every single review of roots did

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think this is a great first review man nice job! have a pos



NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think this is a great first review man nice job!


This, in case you missed my comment in that wall of text.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

favorite tracks, anyone?

Farewell is one of my favs



emester
June 16th 2014



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The Awakening is my favorite track on here

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice. the awakening and farewell back to back is my favorite part of the album

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dat title track, although I've had since the start of the year to absorb this album.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



19497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

u like to brag about dem promotions don't you :3

album is still growing on me, prolly gonna be a 4.5 for me as well

zaruyache
June 16th 2014



5915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic record.

Digging: Sunwolf - Beholden To Nothing And No One

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014



6942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

u like to brag about dem promotions don't you :3


If you got it, shake it.



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