Andy Marshall is the poster child for harnessing the random beauty of nature and threading it together with the limitless opportunity atmospheric folk/black metal presents. His Caledonian imprint (a fancy, old-fashioned way of saying Scotland) isn’t foreign to the scene, but the coming together of his various musical arrangements is second to none. And that’s a hill I will die on.
I’ll cut to the chase: Origins (Season Of Mist) is an album of the year candidate, devised under Marshall’s moniker Saor. I would wholeheartedly listen to a thirty-song record regularly if his fingerprints were found on it. And though the fifth release from Saor boasts but six songs, any fan of Marshall’s would rightfully assume the half-dozen tracks will inspire, articulate and enliven.
The aptly named ‘Aurora’ acts as a horizon-spanning band of majestic light hovering over the plains. The interplay between the wind flute and cadre of orchestrals is, in a word, spellbinding. The black metal-style vocals is akin to eating a Brillo pad like it’s a crisp Granny Smith.
Marshall doesn’t stop there – not even close. Enter ‘The Ancient Ones.’ The deafening, enthralling harsh vocals alone solidify the case for his being the most underrated. Black metal is established early on, but the composition eventually floats you atop a bustling forest amongst mist-covered pines.
A crackling campfire both presents and concludes ‘Fallen’ in a welcoming, safe manner. The booming bass drum is metronomically maniacal. The grizzly, domineering spoken vocals is more flair in which to admire.
Speaking of which, ‘Call Of The Carnyx’ is patience personified; Marshall opens Origins with this, luring you in while also leaving you desperate for more. The carrot-on-a-stick method starts with a guitar progressing gradually before marching drums shocks the riff to life. The singing is somber and measured in an epic four-minute buildup capped with scintillatingly glossy pipes.
If a life-fulfilling getaway to the idyllic Scottish highlands is out of the question, Origins can just as easily bring you there. Limited only by imagination, the experiences and emotions Andy Marshall creates is as good as the real thing.
Honestly, this may even be better
9 / 10