Arsaidh (Saor) - 'Roots' (2013)



Darker Than Black Recs.


Arsaidh is a Scottish atmospheric black metal band, founded in 2012 by Andy Marschall (ex-Falloch, ex-Askival). In 2013 the band (or better project) changed it name to Saor - so you can find this release also under this moniker. 
When I am listenning to this material I always think about other band, also from British Islands - Nhor. The music of both of these bands - Arsaidh and Nhor - has many in common. They play atmospheric black metal, but in defenitely raw version, with harsh production. Also the melancholic atmosphere of those projects makes them a bit similar. But Nhor's concept bases on nature, while Arsaidh/Saor seems to goes more into themes like proud of the scottish heritage. Not in any nationalistic way, more melancholic (or even romantic).
To be honest it's very hard to describe Arsaidh's music So let me do this in a bit different way and test your imagination. First of all - read these stanzas:

We are sorrow's children
Torn from Alba's womb
A reflection of fallen martyrs
The lifeblood of this land

'A Highland Lament' / Arsaidh

Now imagine an epic, black metal tremolo-picked riffs and middle fast drum beats. Add the vocals - extremely barbarian, which sounds like the last cry of Mel Gib... I mean, William Walace. Now, add soft, pulsatory bass, heavily exposed. And when the vocalist ends screaming those verses, imagine that the action calm a bit. The metal section is supported by many various instruments - sometimes it can be a fluet, sometimes a piano, and sometimes - remember, we're in Scotland - a bagpipes. 
Got the atmosphere? Now the question is - do you like such kind of playing. If no, don't bother yourself anymore. But if you like the idea of (a bit raw) black metal, little soften by traditional celtic sounds, you should have a vital interest in buying this album. I must say that at first I was a bit sceptical, but it was more bounded with the production - a bit stifling, and very underground. I was immediately thinking 'that's not good in this genre'. But I was wrong - in my opinion this is a big advantage, because it helps you to focus on the music. Paradoxically raw (somebody would say - bad) sound makes music much better. 
Of course music on 'Roots' is not as simple as I described it - it has many relishes here and there, which is a mark of every good band in this genre. Yet I believe that at least some people who should like 'Roots' will be looking for this release after reading of my review. And I think that they won't be disappointed.

Rate: 8/10

Check out band's music:

1. Roots
2. Carved In Stone
3. Saorsa
4. A Highland Lament
Total time: 49:57

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