Saor
Forgotten Paths


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (268 Reviews)
February 7th, 2019 | 166 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Come discover the path less trodden.

While becoming a visionary of the Celtic black metal arts, Andy Marshall has steadily gained steam in terms of surreal quality and genre transcendence. Initially starting Saor’s deep roots in the form of Arsaidh, Marshall quickly gained status as a man who knew his way around a sonic vision. The efforts that followed, continued in the same vein, building in the transitional story lines of beautiful landscapes and vast compositions and when compared directly to the vast efforts that precede this year’s Forgotten Paths, the lines between old and new blur… and thankfully so.

That’s not to say Saor has stalled as a creative outlet for Mr. Andy Marshall, rather the progression moves forward much in the same way a novel’s page follows the last. The fan that finds themselves searching down this path for wild experimentation and major plot turns is set up for quick dissatisfaction as Forgotten Paths continues on its merry little way. If Roots is a sonic gateway to the mountains and Aura the reaffirmation that Saor stands testament to musical ingenuity then Marshall’s Guardians stands as the new benchmark to which all other lofty black metal acts will be measured.

The unasked question: Does Forgotten Paths measure up to its forebear?

Yes and no. Matching the grandiosity and utmost musical awareness found in Saor’s previous efforts is never going to be a small feat. Sure enough, a statement of sorts comes as the title track weaves melody into the typical Saor aesthetic, playing one element easily off the other. It’s natural, magnificent and yields only the predictability found on Saor’s precious records, tying well into the sole member’s need to bring culture, nature and history into a succinct package of musical dexterity. The sheer ferocity of “Bròn” overbears on the majesty and grace of the record’s cleaner moments. The flailing gravitational pull of “Monadh’s” more minimalistic piano trill backs the weight of Marshall’s soaring, transcendent nuances. It goes without saying that Forgotten Paths is every part a Saor record, but it falls short of matching an opus such as Guardians (if only by the nth degree).

If you’re somewhat familiar with the Saor brand of black metal, there’s something to be said about the finer points of the mixing and engineering of Forgotten Path. Marshall’s time behind the desk has allowed this album to be presented at its fullest, captivating the use of minimalist quiet and fierce furor. There’s not a lot of breathing room, particularly when Marshall opts for a slow climatic build, but his mixing efforts prevent any staleness, or abrasive section shifts. The finer details make all the difference.

It seems Andy Marshall defies the tertiary slump most other similar acts go through, achieving yet another milestone. Largely, Forgotten Paths is a shorter listen than the albums that predate it. It’s not a bad thing, but there’s definitely some level of want for yet another colossal track. Listeners don’t want new or revolutionary as long as Marshall maintains this artsy, well-executed foray into mind-boggling greatness. Sure, this year’s effort may not be the Guardians of Marshall’s career, but it’s a damn fine next chapter in the same vein.



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user ratings (189)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Zach (4.5)
This beauty which I hold within my hand is fleeting....

related reviews

Roots

Aura

Guardians

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Streaming here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TlfK8VCuLuE



Not sure if this has the staying power for a top ten this year. Only time will tell

Slex
February 6th 2019


6444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Apparently all his stuff is similar to this but this is the first release I've listened to and to my virgin ears this is magnificent

Digging: Blessed (CAN) - Salt

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It’s still magnificent, but when it’s all magnificent it becomes the new standard.

Hawks
February 6th 2019


69298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YESSSSSSSS

Digging: Hecate Enthroned - Embrace Of The Godless Aeon

zaruyache
February 6th 2019


20654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album Rating: 4.8



rules

Dedes
February 6th 2019


6356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gud review this is tits

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys

Sevengill
February 6th 2019


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review is on point. This feels like a col more than a peak, but after the three behemoths before it, that's just fine with me.

Digging: Suldusk - Lunar Falls

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep, pretty hard to match in terms of quality overall but it’s not like it really fell short did it?

Hawks
February 7th 2019


69298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think he’s gotten better and better with each album. They all slay so ahrd.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


2976 Comments


enjoying this more a few spins in. would fucking love to be in slex's shoes right now. still remember clearly the first time I jammed roots and having to spend 15 minutes cleaning the underside of my desk.

Slex
February 7th 2019


6444 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haven't jammed Roots yet! Think I'll just start there and work thru the discog

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


2976 Comments


yea that's the best way to go. I'm not sure it'll slap you silly like this has given his discography is basically a subtle yet constant climb but every album rules so you are in for a treat

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jammed roots and having to spend 15 minutes cleaning the underside of my desk.



Me with Aura.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


2976 Comments


aura and roots are so fucking close for me as my picks for best saor. the clean opening to aura's t/t might be the prettiest thing Andy's ever done.

TheNemeton91
February 7th 2019


253 Comments


Oh fuck this out. I'm on this like flies on shit, fam.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


25094 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't put into words how amazing this album is.

Digging: Secret Band - LP2

DungeonBoy
February 7th 2019


5802 Comments


Good review dude, but I'm enjoying this a lot more than Guardians which I felt paled in comparison to Aura. Props for pointing out the mix improvement because it really does take this album to a whole new level, and helps Marshall's vocals actually sit well for once. Two things:

Does Forgotten Paths measure up to its forebear"(?)

weaves melody into (t)he typical Saor aesthetic

Cheers!


Digging: Inculter - Fatal Visions

lalchimiste
February 7th 2019


1095 Comments


I kind of grown to love his sword-bearing pagan burps of valor, but I agree they feel less disconnected here than on previous outings. Anyways it's never been a focal point especially in the melodic/atmoblack style he's developed over the years.

That whole opening sequencing of Forgotten Paths, what a way to open an album. Really digging the call and response with the harsh vox/whispers.

Digging: Eloign - Chasing the Sound

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Dungeon



Thanks bud, yeah that’s our question mark feature the site is forcing us to use

Thanks for catching the missing key stroke



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