We find ourselves talking about this interesting solo project from Scotland, a year after the previous full length Guardians. Andy Marshall has deservedly managed to build up a good following, being basically one of the main proponents of the blending of Scottish folk and black metal. Forgotten Paths, his fourth long-distance work under the Saor label, reinforces the status acquired by the Glasgow musician without bringing any particular novelty, except for the presence of important guests, including Neige, but indeed there was no need to change a compositional scheme that is continuing to bear excellent fruit. In fact, in the three long tracks plus the instrumental placed at the close, we find the epic and airy atmospheres to which Marshall has pleasantly accustomed us in the past and of which, frankly, one does not tire when they are proposed with such mastery. If you will, the only ballast that has not yet been removed from Saor context is the vocals, for among the many talents acknowledged to ours certainly does not include that of effective and interpretive screaming, but in the end this seems not so relevant in light of the stylistic approach that greatly favors instrumental parts. If the title track is a good but average song, despite Neige’s guest appearance that, unwittingly or not, contributes to “alcestize” the whole thing, it is the following is dreamy Monadh that offers the best face of Saor, that is, the one capable of moving by evoking the typical naturalistic sceneries of the Scottish land. Bròn, on the other hand, is a track that alternates between outbursts always supported by a melodic scaffolding and more rarefied passages, among which female vocals provided by the wonderful Sophie Rogers make an appearance. The shorter acoustic episode Exile closes an album that does not make one cry out for a miracle but is nonetheless convincing throughout, thanks to Marshall’s well-established ability to bring the two fundamental components of Saor‘s sound together in the best possible way.

2019 – Avantgarde Music