www.metal-temple.com = 4/5 points:
Formed in just 2008, Belgian Epic Black Metallers SAILLE are back with their third full-length album “Eldritch”, just under two years after the much acclaimed opus “Ritu”. Due for release next week, “Eldritch” contains nine tracks with a total play-time of just short of an hour, and features a host of guest musicians, ranging from violin through to trumpet and to spoken word. The guitar work on this album has been brought more into the fore, placing a smidgeon more emphasis of the Blacker influences of the band, as opposed to the Symphonic elements. Having had each of their previous two albums mastered in different countries, “Eldritch” carries on in this tradition, having been mixed and mastered in Sweden by Klas Blomgren, who has also done work for bands such as SVART and ACACIA.
Starting off the album with “Emerald”, an ominous atmosphere overlays a somber guitar melody, before the distinctive vocals bleed in. Then the song really kicks off, containing moments of Symphonic madness as well as hints of an almost Melodic Black Metal sound, held together by ethereal and haunting keyboard sections that lend everything a discordant note. This pretty much sets the standard for the majority of the following songs, although this by no means is to say that the music is repetitive. Ominous whispers in “Walpurgis” counterbalance the torrential onslaught of salvo-like drumming; indeed, in some sections, it seems that drummer Kevin could launch a small rocket into space with his relentless blast beats. Some tracks have a wonderful dark and threatening yet Epic and Symphonic feel to them that really brings the album to life. “Aklo” for example could easily be mistaken for a long lost DIMMU BORGIR track, circa the pinnacle of their career, whilst “Eater of Worlds” on the other hand is vaguely reminiscent of a more Melodic and less demonic version of later-era DARK FUNERAL. This stunning song is by far my favorite on the album, and is an absolute must-listen: check out the lyric video at the end of this review.
The word eldritch, which means “weird, sinister, or ghostly”, is a fitting moniker for this album, inspired as it is by the masters of horror literature. Intertwining moments of pure brutality with sepulcher, hair-raising, and poignant atmospheres, this album has everything necessary for a broody yet brutal foray into the murky world of Symphonic Black Metal. One thing that I also appreciate is that the keyboards are used sparingly to add to the overall atmosphere; too many bands become too reliant on this instrument to the point where the keyboards drown out everything else. On the downside however, the flow of the album is somewhat disjointed, and at times you get the feeling that the multifarious layers are slightly haphazardly put together.
Nevertheless, this is a very good album, and with this release we are once again faced with the question as to why SAILLE are not more widely known. I’m sure that this band will go on to achieve great things in the future, taking their place in the forefront of the genre. (Erika Kuenstler)