Album: Battle of Kings
Artist: Saor Patrol
Label: ARC Music
CD #: EUCD2788
Genre: Scottish Celtic Rock
Release: Internationally on: 22.06.2018
★★★★★ 5 star review, InMusic, InHard, Germany:
“Well done bagpipe rock is rare. The 5-piece Scottish band Saor Patrol counts among the best representatives of the genre, combining in their unique sound Scottish melodies with Celtic rock.”
The Independent, UK:
“Saor Patrol play music that is defiantly Scottish. It’s a mix of Scots pipes, guitar riffs, and drumming…”
Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead:
“The Motörhead of Folk”
Close your eyes and submit to the power of thunderous drums, celebratory guitars and the ecstatic shrill of bagpipes as you relive the glories of Scottish legends in this visceral and seminal new album from Saor Patrol, masters of Celtic Rock.
Pronounced “Shore Patrol”, “Saor” is the Gaelic word for Freedom, so this exciting new release both patrols and parades that vital concept by celebrating the grounding forces of Scottish culture and history, honouring the still beating heart of a former time by passing its life onto ours through the realms of emotional education and physical entertainment.
The band are each members of the Clanranald Trust for Scotland, whose many accomplishments include the renovation of Duncarron, a landmark medieval fortress in the Carron Valley. This historical connection can be heard in the Saor Patrol’s sound, style and approach. The combination of bagpipes, drums and guitars contains all that is fierce and vulnerable when one considers ancient conflict, and all that is to do with expressions of power and pain.
Led by Charlie Allan, Saor Patrol are also members of Combat International, a select brigade of experts trained in the field of medieval Scottish fighting techniques, skills which have proved invaluable to the film industry, where the group have appeared in numerous acclaimed films of recent times, including Thor II, Gladiator, Transformers 5 , King Arthur, Robin Hood, Macbeth and The Eagle, culminating in the forthcoming new Netflix film about Robert the Bruce, called ‘Outlaw King’ starring Chris Pine, where Director David Mackenzie found Charlie Allan’s expertise and knowledge essential.
Robert the Bruce died in June 1329 and his body was buried in the Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart was buried in Melrose Abbey. In 1314 he defeated the British army of Edward II and it was this victory that established him as the foremost figure in the fight for Scottish independence.
In the film, 22 expert members of Combat International were selected to work as personal guards of Robert the Bruce, the “Outlaw King” and as Charlie Allan explains, this role in particular formed the inspiration for the album. The songs capture the sounds of the past with all of the energy and emotion of the present as both listener and musician forge an alliance in celebrating and engaging with the myths that formed them.
Saor Patrol are:
Charlie ‘Chick’ Allan – bagpipes
Mark Monaghan – drums
Kevin Johnston – drums
Andre Zeuner – drums
Steve Legget – electric guitar
Guest vocalist on ‘Aftermath’ – William Van Der Laan
Battle of Kings, the album
At the core of this unique masterpiece of an album is the feelings and legacy of the Scottish war of independence and the struggles raged against the forces of the English kings. The cover art emphasises this confrontation by combining the savage lion of England with the wounded unicorn, an enchanting symbol for the beauty and mystery of Scottish legend.
This glorious mythological animal first appeared on the Scottish King, William I Royal Coat of Arms in the 12th century and on gold coins in the 1400’s. The unification of Scotland and England under James VI in 1603, saw two unicorns supporting a shield. When James VI became James I of England and Ireland, one unicorn was replaced by a Lion to consolidate the fusion of both nations, an alliance which has seen continuing discontent across the passing years, with the subdued force of the Unicorn battling England’s emblematic animal. Battle of Kings therefore represents on a fundamental level, the power and need for emotional, spiritual and political independence and this is clearly demonstrated by the ideaology behind the music and in the approaches of its representation and performance.
Today, Saor Patrol perform the musical miracle of audible time travel as the sounds and style chosen transport the listener back to an ancient war, and allow for an active engagement with all of the aspects at stake. Charlie Allan’s bagpipes render any current association with that sound redundant as they remind us of the shrill song of the past that has never ended and which continues to speak and resonate for as long as the Scottish legends and lessons are learned.
- The Ride to the Marches – 5:12
- The Chase – 4:34
- Stirling Craig – 4:57
- Road to the Isles – 5:37
- Aftermath (Battle of the Field of Shirts) featuring William Van Der Laan – 7:06
- Bog Trotter – 4:02
- The Whipping Post – 3:25
- Copper Tun – 4:37
- Heart of a Unicorn (Isla’s Song) – 4:46
- Amazin’ Grace – 4:57
- Battlefield Blues – 6:34
- Rebels Rising – 5:41
(Total playing time: 61:30 min.)
‘Stirling Craing’, is a musical portrait of Craig Abbey, the place where William Wallace and his forces took refuge before defeating the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297.
‘Road to the Isles’ recalls the times when Robert the Bruce assumed the throne as a fugitive and was supported and protected by Christina of the islands and Aonghus Óg Mac Domhnaill, with whom he fought alongside in the decisive battle against Edward II in 1314, in the clash of Bannockburn.
‘Aftermath’, ‘Bog Trotter’, ‘The Whipping Post’ and ‘Rebels Rising’ represent the bitter and chilling reality of war, and how it has destroyed, disfigured, captured and defined the hearts and souls of those caught within it.
‘Battlefield Blues’ is inspired by and indeed, dedicated to the bestial and violent conflicts that the medieval warrior had to both suffer and survive and shows how the album takes us on both a narrative and spiritual journey, art’s truest and perhaps only aim.
Saor Patrol travel continuously, bringing the authentic Scottish spirit to every corner of the world, while proudly proclaiming ‘Alba gu Bràth!’ – Scotland Forever!’ This nationalist cry may have been formed from confrontation but, as in all art and the healing and celebratory power of music, now arrives with all of the beauty of commitment and all of the necessity of resistance. It allows Saor Patrol to exist as one of the last examples of unification between musician and listener, and past and present. Their strength and dedication call for all who come into contact with them to enlist in their army of the soul, in order to create a new generation of peaceful warriors, there to fight for the lasting glories of identity, belonging, immersiveness and longevity. Our current kings are not golden, so now, we fight on, to be Kings.
“Battle of Kings” is released on June 22nd 2018 internationally through ARC Music.
Saor Patrol Online
Artist Website: http://www.saorpatrol.com/
Artist Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saorpatrol/
Artist YouTube Live: https://www.facebook.com/saorpatrol/videos/10155771960031614/
Reviews: Saor Patrol
Moors Magazine, The Netherlands:
“Saor Patrol is a remarkable band… the bagpipes rock – raw, rugged and with incredible energy… This is music that brings a daily dose of energy, a daily power boost!”
on Battle of Kings/Holly Moors:
“The music is always solid and raw, and if you like the sound of the bagpipes and solid rock is absolutely irresistible.”
RnR Magazine, UK:
“Taking their cues from history, location and culture… full of heart, passion and an irresistible beat.”
USA: anti-music: review by Kevin Wierzbicki: “A must for fans of bagpipes and Celtic music in general, Battle of Kings often entices a dance or a bit of a frolic, in a kilt or otherwise.”
Arthur Shuey, USA:
“Strongly rooted in Scotland’s ancient bogs, crags and moors, yet excellently produced with 21st century recording tools and performed by players who, while completely respectful of the form, have 21st century ears… Think “Plaid Sabbath.” There may be no sound more chilling, more stirring, to ears of Western European descent than that of Scottish bagpipes.”
World Music Central USA:
“It isn’t just bagpipes. The percussion is a smooth blend of big-stage rock and military march, abetting the pipes as if one is the carburetor and the other the pistons of an engine fueled by adrenalin, and the rest of the band gets it.”
review by Arthur Shuey published June 5:
“This magnificent new release … These dozen songs are all better than good, and each is a vignette clearly evoking a moment or mood from the most focal days of Scottish history”
Jazz-fun.de Review to be published/Jacek Brun 03.08.2018 – 01.09.2018
LEGACY Metal Magazine to publish a review 01.09.2018 – 01.11.2018 September/October
Medien – info.com online publication/review to be published 03.08.2018 – 01.09.2018
Celtic Rock, Germany:
“…live Scottish history”
Le Canard Folk: review July 5 2018:
“Passionate and madly energetic, they drag the public into irresistible rhythms!”
Rootstime review by Dani Heyvaert for Battle of Kings/Saor Patrol, June 7 2018
“From Scotland comes this special CD: a real kind of folk-rock opera about the wars, which in the course of time brought Scotland to independence… Saor Patrol means “freedom patrol” and that band, through its special form of rock music – triple drums, screeching guitars and leading bagpipes – and through its membership of the Clanranald Trust of Scotland, is a champion for the preservation of Scottish freedom and Scottish heritage.”
“… a kind of ascension to an epic level….”
Radio Phonica features Battle of Kings: 26th April 2018
Italy: Mescalina review on Battle of Kings/Article re live show: https://www.mescalina.it/musica/news/10071/musicnewsrelease
NL: Peaceful Radio aired The Ride to the Marches Playlist #1287: https://www.peacefulradio.info/peaceful-radio-show-1287-freedom-in-your-soul-luna-blanca/
NZ: Elsewhere review by Graham Reid:
“This powerful Scottish rock band – once called “the Motorhead of Folk” by Lemmy – have long been in the vanguard of bringing traditional music and culture into the world of 21st century rock by leading with the pipes over three drummers and angry electric guitar. It makes for a strident, powerful and heart-moving sound, especially if the thrill of bagpipes is in your DNA (as it is mine)… Their version of Amazing Grace is probably unlike any you have heard.”
Le BabillArt, Canada:
“Celtic rock group Saor Patrol has a unique sound of Scotland in the next century. It brings together the sounds of the past into the present giving an electrifying experience.”
Review in ekultura: review by Galgóczi Tamás
“traditional and modern, proud and energetic music… It is very intimate, original music, the following sentence is quite right: Alba gu Bràth!”
“a story about the tremendous loyalty of a person to the preservation of the historical memory and traditions of his people… The band records albums, successfully performs in many countries, especially its love in Germany (even the booklet of the album Battle Of Kings is made in English and German). Battle Of Kings is the band’s most recent album, directly related to the film “Outlaw King”, but this is not a soundtrack, they are united by a common theme, the theme of the struggle for the independence of Scotland in the late 13th – early 11th centuries. It was led first by William Wallace, and then by Robert Bruce against the English invaders – Edward I aka Edward Longshanks, and then his son Edward II.”
“… tribal folk-rock, with thundering drums and twirling pipes.”
Raadio 2 Estonia – Etnokonservid show/Martin Oja – DJ Daysleeper aired ‘Stirling Craig’ in May Show and will also play track in June: https://www.mixcloud.com/martindaysleeperoja/
Track starts at 49:20
“…an expression of admirable Scottish pride, strong as the whiskey and live must be an experience.” Antoine Légat.
Also published online Antoine Legat’s blog: https://antoinelegat.wordpress.com/
Cyprus: One World Music ‘Battle of Kings’ included in official playlist 123 ‘the ride to the marches’ starts at 04:34: http://oneworldmusic.co.uk/playlists/4591207323
Charlie Allan, Saor Patrol
“When Ridley Scott verbally requests your presence on a movie on more than one occasion people take you seriously. “
For more information please contact Angie Lemon: [email protected]. Tel: +44 (0) 1342 770 486 | ARC Music Productions International | PO Box 111 | East Grinstead | West Sussex | RH19 4FZ | UKwww.arcmusic.co.uk
A special thanks to Angie Lemon and Charlie Allan for their kindness and help.
Text: Elena Caldera
adapted and translated by David Erdos