Saille – Gnosis

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Code 666 Records / Aural Music
Distributor/label [URL]: http://www.code666.net / http://www.auralmusic.com/
Released: 2017
Buy Album [URL]: 
https://saille.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: 
www.saille.be

code113Band line-up:

Dennie Grondelaers – Vocals
Reinier Schenk – Guitars
Collin Boone – Guitars
Kevin De Leener – Drums
Kristof Van Iseghem – Bass

Tracklisting:

1. Benei he’Elohim
2. Pandaemonium Gathers
3. Blot
4. Genesis 11;1-9
5. Before the Crawling Chaos
6. Prometheus
7. Thou, my Maker
8. Magnum Opus
9. 1904 Era Vulgaris

Review:

Melodic and symphonic black metal band, Saille was founded in 2008 by keyboardist, Dries Gaerdelen. The band’s debut album, ‘Irreversible Decay’, was released in 2011, their ‘Ritu’ was made available in 2013, and ‘Eldritch’ in 2014. All of these albums were dark, no it’s no surprise the band wanted to take things to another level, with its soon to be released fourth album. The tracks (in their latest title ‘Gnosis’) are more compact and powerful than their previous releases, as guitarist Reinier Schenk comments, ‘more intense and extreme’. This record’s sonic depiction of agony, is more than just a twisted adrenaline rush, however. Its core concept focuses on the quest for knowledge, and the potentially disastrous consequences it can bring.

Does this collection of songs sound like a disaster of the mind? Yes. Putting it very mildly. ‘Benei ha’Elohim’, the first track, sets the petrifying tone of all that follows, with its grim doom inspired musical devices. This intro, with its repeating low end chugging ostinato, can be compared to ‘Codex Gigas’, by Candlemass. Every now and then, a solo palm-muted thrash style riff can be heard, too. Despite the dabbling with closely related genres, this is rather traditional black metal, however.

There is nothing unusual about BM that creates an amazing atmosphere, that’s usually one of the style’s most striking features. There is also nothing strange about this genre having great, morbid classical style harmony. However, black metal with memorable themes, and a wide variety of instrumentations, is harder to find, but with Saille, and their musical abominations, you get all of the just described.
‘Magnum Opus’, for example, is a song that starts with a bass guitar and snyth part that could put one to sleep. Then comes a non-threatening, contemplative guitar harmony part, that brings to mind Iron Maiden. Next, you get winded by a series of anthemic, snarling power chords, as the expected crazed drumming shakes up the senses, with its mechanical battery.

The production and execution throughout this album is almost as harsh as the music itself. The cold notes of the guitars often bleed, dissonantly together when they aren’t playing single note lines. The sometimes softer timbre melodies the orchestra play along with these parts, offer little relief. If anything, their once mainly positive associations, get morphed into something nearly as frightening as the distorted strings. The song structures are well thought out, too. They’re not typical ‘verse, chorus’ designs, they are more unpredictable, and therefore only keep the listener more on edge. Even so, they are not the random ramblings of a mad man, more of an intelligent, devilish entity. The endings to the songs are a bit of a disappointment, however, as they have a tendency to stop with little reason to. Other than what seems to be a lack of musical interest, on the part of the composers, that is.

In conclusion, this is well worth a listen. Especially if you like the more epic side of this style of music, e.g, that’s created by the ensembles Tartaros, Limbonic Art and Keep of Kalessin. Saille have successfully depicted a nightmarish vision, and therefore rock as much as a man with a club, dancing around a fire, in a forest. They don’t innovate too much, but few do!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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