Forked Tongues: Saor: Hordes X 2022 interviews
We’re going straight from the bottom to the top, with our next round of Hordes X interviews.
Last time, we rounded up the openers of both stages, Primitive Vices & Alpha Signal. This time, we catch up with the creative mastermind behind our headliners, Andy Marshall. For a project which is so heavily influenced by Scotland, Saor don’t seem to do a lot of live shows in the auld home country. It makes you wonder if there’s a reason behind that.
Andy Marshall: “It makes it more special when you only play a handful of shows over a few years. It gets boring playing the same cities and venues all of the time. The launch night in Glasgow was great but there were train strikes going on that day, which unfortunately impacted the attendance.”
As we understand it, Andy does pretty much all of the writing for Saor. So, when it comes to selecting the right live personnel, and taking his music to the stage, how does he go about it?
Andy: Reni (guitar), and Bryan (drums) have been part of the live line up since the beginning. We’ve grown close over those years and become really good mates. The main thing is that they’re both passionate about playing the Saor material live and are dedicated to playing their instruments. It’s always a benefit when you get on with other members and know how to have a laugh.
To revisit studio efforts, Origins really does feel like a significant step up. It does, however, seem as though not all are in agreement.
Andy: “I personally think it’s a step up, but I think it has split the Saor fan base.“
“Some of them prefer the longer songs, and rougher production of the old albums, and others seem to love the new direction. It’s a bit of a “Marmite” album! The production is way better than any of my previous albums, thanks to the incredibly talented Lasse Lammert of LSD Studio in Germany. It’s more guitar-driven, and has a lot of heavy metal influences. I also changed the vocal style, so that the harsh vocals were more “blackened”, and less growly. I don’t see the point in recording the same album over, and over, so I decided to experiment a little bit with this album.”
Saor – Origins (album)
Release date: 24th June 2022||Genre: Blackened folk metal|| Label: Season Of Mist
Origins, the latest full-length from Saor, is what can rightfully be called a crowning achievement.
From the opening of Call Of The Carnyx, you can tell something special has occured here. Andy Marshall has captured a more holistically “Scottish” sound than on previous releases, and it strikes as completely genuine. The characteristics of quintessentially Scottish music can be difficult to handle. They often sound twee or hilarious, but not so on Origins. You will have to be open in approach, as some more upbeat sections (looking at you, Fallen) might not seem naturally black metal. If you just go with it, though, everything makes sense. Remember, this is folk influenced music. It is also a metal record, and that particular badge is bright as brass on the sleeve, with almost Iron Maiden gallops at times. However, it all comes together as one record, albeit covering many bases. It travels well as an album, gifting the sensation of being told a sprawling, epic tale. And story telling is as huge part of Scottish history…
Grade: A+ (extra credit for nailing a truly Scottish sound, without being comical)
…And speaking of detractors… Saor is obviously a project steeped in national identity. Has it ever encountered any negative experiences pursuing that path?
Andy: “You get the occasional wet-wipe sitting behind their computer screen, talking shit, but it’s been mostly a positive experience. People seem to love Scotland, and are very interested in our history.”
If you’ve noticed above, this latest release went out via Season Of Mist. They are a pretty important label for those of more extreme or unusual music tastes, and quite influential. This is no random occurrence, though, and the relationship has been on the cards for a while.
Andy: “I first got in touch with Michael (the boss) when I released “Aura” way back in 2014. We had a few discussions on email but it never really came to anything. In 2019, I met him at Metal East festival in Kharkiv, Ukraine and we had a lengthy discussion about the benefits of signing to his label. A few weeks later, I penned a contract with them. I’ve noticed that everything is very professional and their distribution has been great. I’ve had offers from other big indie labels in the past but I knew I only wanted to work with Season of Mist. I’m a huge fan of the label and their roster.”
So, with a major goal achieved, and a consistent history of album releases, are thoughts in motion about a follow up already?
Andy: “Not really. I don’t even know if there will be another Saor album. I’ve been very busy in my personal life recently, so I’ve not had the chance to write new music. Next up is the EU tour with Gaahls Wyrd in October and we have a few gigs later in the year. Our booking agent has been hard at work getting us shows next year and it’s looking busy. I mainly want to play places we’ve never been to before.”
And one of those places is Dundee…
Hordes X 2022
Venue: Beat Generator Live, N Lindsay St, Dundee
Date: Saturday September 24th
Artists: Saor, Karybdis, Catalysis, Drekavac, Shadow’s Far, Volcano X, Aeons, H8teball, Bloodthread, Nocturne Wulf, Extort, Primitive Vices, Alpha Signal
Ticket link: http://t-s.co/hord5
Facebook event page: https://m.facebook.com/events/398016725067653/
READ MORE ABOUT HORDES X ON SLOW DRAGON MUSIC
Forked Tongues: Saor: Hordes X 2022 interviews