Review: Saille – Gnosis
Written by Elliot John Doe
Saille are a Belgian Black Metal quintet formed in 2009, previously having been a six piece band until the departure of founding member and keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen just last year. Saille are well known for incorporating real classical instruments, such as cello, violin and trumpets into their music as well as keeping themselves strongly influenced by the Black Metal genre. In the past eight years having gained a tremendous amount of notoriety through their touring and support slots with the likes of Winterfylleth, Moonspell, Septicflesh and Cradle Of Filth to name a few. This year sees the band releasing their fourth opus, once again through Italian Metal label Code666 Records. Now follow me through the dark depths of Saille’s brand new offering.
‘Benai ha”Elohim’ has everything an opening track needs; a fade in with creepy atmospherics and an eerie organ, then a pause before the refrain thunders in with an all encompassing band performance to rival many. Definitely the embodiment of modern day black metal, chugging guitars and unrelenting drums, rumbling bass and powerful vocals make for an excellent first track.
‘Pandaemonium Gathers’ is a great follow up brimming with exciting drum pace changes and darker than dark riffs, excellently placed screaming and death growls with added tandem guitar riffery and a spoken word section emitting the feel of sorcery transcending through their craft, plus a truly memorable chorus all makes for a knock out round two.
‘Blôt’ begins with horns, strings and female choir vocals. As soothing as this may sound the vibe is somewhat sinister and before you know it you’ve been submerged in a brutal assault of cacophony and drenched in tremolo guitars and blast beats. A melodic breakdown is an unexpected treat that twists this track in a different direction, yet that wall of sound keeps tearing its way back into your ears. The cherry on top of this rotten cake for me is the guitar solo, fantastic work.
A much sludgier track in ‘Genesis 11;1-9’ with splashes of doom and thrash resound throughout, still Saille keep the blackened evil rolling through blast beats, subtle background choral vocals and vehement lead vocals. Some unique reverb soaked guitar picking is a plus for a little something extra; simple but effective.
‘Before The Crawling Chaos’ has a dirty, gritty intro with heavy ringing guitars and behemoth vocals which transcends into a mid-tempo hair swinging frolick. There are some ever so slight rock flavors happening in the guitar riffs, but they still maintain an effervescent darkness. Beautiful warped cello and violins lead the flow into a sensational breakdown followed by a drum and bass middle and a soaring outro. This one is going to be a playlist mainstay for me for quite a while.
‘Prometheus’ descends back into a barrage of pure hate complete with seething vocals, resilient guitars and drums lead the way. The middle section contains a death/thrash riff and introduces a backdrop of subtle atmospherics. I also notice the common recurrence of doom rock like guitar riffs, which I think is a cool added twist of creepy darkness that hasn’t been explored much in the black metal genre. These guys are really helping to keep this strain of metal going in an excellent modern twist.
Raise your devil horns and bang your head as we make way for ‘Thou, My Maker’ which is another astounding blend of mid-tempo hair swinging and full on battalion assault. Once again the existential use of strings and chorals gives the chorus that added lift, my favorite part for sure, shortly followed by a barrier breaking outro.
‘Magnum Opus’ gives way for a first grade bass solo backed with swaying strings soon joined by dueling lead guitars. Then bang as a powerful force with a sense of uprising slays its way through, I get a picture of an ancient battle somewhere in Europe with this track. What seems to be an instrumental piece actually fades out with tormented whispers, becoming a gateway for the album’s closing song.
‘1904 Era Vulgaris’ begins with a canter and propels into a full blown gallop, continually oozing with darkness, vehemence and unrelenting barrages of guitars and double kick pedals; a great culmination to a brilliant album.
This is cacophony at its finest. Some true modern day black metal with a classical symphonic twist. I’d also like to point out how seductive their cover art is. This is something that is hard to find nowadays and I believe a band’s cover art has to be seducing; something to draw in the audience and creating something that will make people interested in hearing your work through visuals. It’s not executed as well in this age, but Saille have conquered in this area too. Another high point for me in this entire album is the vocal placing; it’s right on point with the music, which I find falls short with a few black metal acts. A perfect blend of many components with tremendous execution. Fantastic work Saille! This year is shaping up to be extremely pleasing for extreme metal acts in my books! 9/10