Proving a rich exploration for ears and imagination alike, Gods is the new album from French instrumental post-metallers Saar. It is the successor to the band’s well-received 2018 full-length Sol, a journey of suggestion and uniqueness which suggests the time between albums inspired an edacious awakening in the already captivating writing, composing and creativity of the Paris quartet.
With 2020 seeing new drummer Julien Taubregeas (Ovtrenoir, Throane, The Great Divide) joining guitarists Alexandre Le Mouroux and Yann Desti and bassist Boris Patchinsky, Saar began writing Gods, a concept album based on the epic poems of Homer. It is a release which draws upon the atmospheric light and darkness of the band’s earlier albums and their exploratory natures, expanding and evolving all aspects into its own individually progressive voyage of sound and intimation into “the bowels of existence, in a godless world lit only by human eternal struggle to overcome his oblivion.”
Though each track is a potent contemplation standing alone, Gods is even more striking when taken as a whole, each track evolving into the next with subtle fluidity and seamless enterprise. From opener Ulysses, it immerses ears and imagination in a tapestry of craft and insinuation, one quickly established in the first track bringing an adventure which can be as bewitchingly bright as it is menacing dark. The first song twists and turns with seductive prowess at times but equally, and with almost greedier intent, grips the senses in a vice of infernal proposition and sonic rapacity.
Never allowing a minute for thoughts and the senses to settle in assumption, the song through its gentler atmospheric contemplation evolves into the following Journey which in turn weaves a venture of tenebrific rumination as rhythmically forceful and majestic as it is sonically mercurial and compelling. It is an alignment of contrasts and unpredictability which as proven throughout the album, ensures the listener weaves its own new tales listen by listen within Saar’s own thought twisting suggestion.
As the emotively Bridge of Death powerfully sweeps through calm and tempestuousness with imposing craft and intensity, returning the journey with even greater emotional drama and Styx closed in on thought with caliginous beauty and anxiety which in turn hungrily erupts in the deliciously clamorous and threatening Tirésias, the release only gripped attention and imagination tighter. As all the tracks, the latter of the three took us on a journey through the darkest trespasses and their ominous proposals to find the beauty of light and melody at their hearts, though that too comes with the implication of Tartarean horizons as epitomised in the album’s title track, an imperious piece of sound and creative inference casting ears and thoughts into its own Hadean hued exploration.
Gods is completed by Truth which features the guest vocals of Julien Sournac from French band Wolve. The track rises with a sense of reflection and contemplation in its sonic winds, a sense and purpose quickly reinforced by Sournac’s captivating tones. The angst and turbulence underlying their musing and the song’s heart is soon fully drawn out by the band for a tempest of sound which beguiled as it blistered.
The track proved a compelling and riveting end to a just as striking release; Gods the finest exploration with Saar yet and an encounter which brings new emprises in thought and fresh pleasures in deed by the listen.
Gods is out now via Source Atone Records; available @ https://saar.bandcamp.com/album/gods-2 and https://sourceatonerecords.bigcartel.com/product/saar-gods-2xlp-t-shirt
Pete RingMaster 07/01/2022
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