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Sonic wallpaper - 80%

we hope you die, October 14th, 2019

In my head I already call Glasgow’s Saor the ‘Scottish Winterfylleth’, but that’s not entirely fair. Although the soothing wash of blast-beats and melodic, layered guitars that is 2016’s LP ‘Guardians’ is similar, Saor definitely indulge in major keys a bit more, and have opted for fiddles and bagpipes to compliment this pleasing shower of noise. The production is so perfect that there’s literally nothing one can say about it, at least nothing interesting beyond ‘it’s all there’. Guitars are a barrage of tremolo picking, pleasing folk melodies and licks, which occasionally draw back to synch up with the double-bass rhythms. Vocals operate at a deeper level than is typical for black metal, with more of a death growl reminiscent of Hate Forest.

The trance-like nature of this music allows Saor to repeat the same refrains again and again without risk of tedium, with variations to the rhythm and tempo allowing this to extend even further. They will then layer this with flutes, fiddles, or bagpipes as and when they choose to drag these passages out even further.

A typical track will open with a simple refrain before the actual metal section gets going. Once we have been treated to some blasting, melodic metal a breakdown will usually follow, with pretty folk leads taking charge. This also allows the drums some creative space to add greater complexity within each drum loop without fear of being drowned out by the guitars. The metal instruments will then take up the melody from there, as a simple re-iteration of what has gone before. We can hardly say that this is a call-back as it occurs immediately after what is being called back to. But, they do work each refrain through several iterations, utilising everything to stretch out the idea for as long as possible.

In this sense what is superficially very rich music with many complementary paths operating in tangent, is actually really rather simple at a structural level. Hence the charge of sonic wallpaper. Inoffensive enough to cover your walls with (or to extend the analogy, listen to repeatedly), and replete with small intricacies and flourishes, but essentially a repetition of the same patterns over and over again.

Originally published at Hate Meditations