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Sakara - Beauty and Bravery

Sakara - CD Review
Beauty and Bravery


Sakara - Beauty and Bravery




CD Info
Ravenheart Music
11 tracks
English lyrics


Beauty and Bravery is the second release by the lovely Sakara and it takes us in some slightly different directions, musically and lyrically from our usual fare here at SC. Not entirely of course, this is still Femme metal and rather nice Femme metal at that. But it takes us to new territory from much of what we encounter here. It’s not Gothic, it’s not intertwined with a male death metal vocal, it doesn’t always pound after the fashion of some we cover here. Instead, we are presented with a fine femme vox that, while not the classical operatic sound, does tend to go in that general direction. Sakara, aka, Laura Marshall, takes us to regions inhabited by warrior women, goddesses, priestesses and magical beings. If you spend some time listening to the lyrics you could be excused for hearing some Pagan influences although, given the subject lines, that would almost have to be expected. Of course, that was my interpretation of the material. And, just to be sure, I asked the lady herself. Her response: “The general themes of songs are about shamanism, bravery, warrior women, goddesses, priestesses, magic, nature, courage and honor, it is about societies lost connection to the natural world and all her creatures and about ancient knowledge lost and reclaiming that knowledge. Songs like Fearless, Weave my Web, Shield Maidens, Orca, Mystery and One reflect this well. My songs like nature can be powerful and aggressive but also soft, calm and gentle, in life there is death, male and female, light and dark. My album like life is about balance. I write from the heart, each song is alive with spirit of its own. I didn’t choose to make the songs in any particular way as each develop and flow by themselves revealing their message to me. I don’t like to explain them away as they loose their energy and I want the listener to make up their own minds to what they think the songs are about and what it says to them.”

I guess you could call that a more general response. But I was interested in tying the artist to the lyric. You know, we can sing about anything but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is an actual connection between the artist and the music. Sakara addressed this aspect as well: “I am particularly inspired by animism and the codes of warriors and knights of times gone by. I have old values and I believe in the old ways but I do not follow traditions blindly. A Hero of mine once said ‘Absorb what is useful, disregard what is not, add what is uniquely your own’. Bruce Lee. And this I have done through weaving my shamanic practice with my music to make my own personal expression and pathway to spirit. My album conjurors up the image of a warrior, it is about reclaiming our power and our right to be who we truly are, not what we’re conditioned to be. It’s about standing up for what we believe in even if that means alone! The warrior learns to overcome fears, conditioning and limitations, to face and battle inner demons, conflicts, negativity and restrictions imposed by the self, others and society, overcoming them and becoming her own conqueror.” For some artists ideas like these can become a part of their persona at some point during their career. Look at the number of artists that move from one theme to the next during their career until they find something that fits, or, in some cases, something that sells. Sakara, however, seems to have been consistent in her beliefs since an early age. “I suppose one message that has been consistent since I began singing from a young girl is the spiritual content and connection to nature and the other worlds. I have for most of my life lived in rural places so I developed a deep connection to the natural world. There are many messages in the music but it is for the listener to let the music speak to them in their own way. What people take away from my work is their business. I know my music will not appeal to everyone but those who do connect with it, for me this is a wonderful gift. As I grow and evolve my music and story will grow too and that is how things should be for if we stop growing and evolving we are as good as dead.”

Well, those are the themes that drive this release. It’s a somewhat consistent approach even if the musical vehicle that drives that message is somewhat varied. We get some really melodic material, almost taking us outside the metal realms and into a full symphonic driven sound to support dreamy vocals on tracks like Angels and Demons. Tracks like Orca take us to something more resembling a science fiction sound track. Mystery, with its opening hypnotic drumming, followed by an almost Celtic vocal are a third distinct direction. And finally, Serenity belies it’s title to deliver up a pounding guitar driven metal with a screaming vocal in the finest tradition of the harder metal sounds of the day.

The release begins in a truly interesting way. We get what sounds like a radio soundtrack:

To come out of a state of hibernation is an erie sensation.

Followed by a synth delivered pulsating sound that takes us to a further spoken word:

He’s been fighting his pillow for years / and so far he’s lost every round.
This fear, like the fear of noise, is inborn.

The track then moves forward in a more traditional way with the interesting femme vox delivering the message:

Years of battles I have faced with many scars upon my face
And now I raise my bloody sword in victory

Unite the dark and light / Fearless
Embrace both death and life / Fearless

Weave My Web seems to be the major track on the release, it’s the big vid at this point. The dog, I am told, is Laura’s dog. But you get much of the point here, the Pagan influence, the beautiful vocals, the solid background instrumental. I’m not sure about the spiders, maybe budget limitations kept the dancers out and replaced them with a crew that worked for less, who knows.

Clearly, some of the most beautiful music is at the front end of the release. A lot of this is atmospheric in nature, heavy use of keyboard synths providing heavenly sounds that are not really in the metal realm. The lyrical work here is also somewhat different than what we typically experience. Shield Maidens is one of the more lovely sounds you’re likely to experience this year. As the music swirls in the background, we hear:

Industriousness / Perseverance / Hospitality / Self Reliance / Fidelity / Discipline
Honour / Courage / Truth / Justice / Mercy

I am a child of the universe, spear by my side, and I am ready to fight.

If your taste runs strictly to the Gothic or the harder forms of Doom or Death metal, this release will be outside your comfort zone for much of the time. If you favor the beautiful, this will be a must own. But, if you’re comfortable listening to something that takes us on a ride in a different and truly interesting direction, this will again be well worth your while. And, I think that’s the listener its aimed at. In that respect, Beauty and Bravery is certainly a winner.