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Saille - "Eldritch" (CD)

Saille - "Eldritch" CD cover image

"Eldritch" track listing:

1. Emerald
2. Walpurgis
3. The Great God Pan
4. Aklo
5. Cold War
6. Eater of Worlds
7. Red Death
8. Dagon
9. Carcosa

Reviewed by on October 21, 2014

"'Eldritch' is chock full of tales of cataclysmic apocalypse as man treads into that which was not meant to be known, whether it be in the depths of the seas, the heart of the wilderness, or the darkness of the night sky."

After the tangible darkness of previous album “Ritu,” the Belgian symphonic black metal band Saille dives even deeper into horror this time around, with each of the tracks on “Eldritch” revolving around a particular literary work ranging from Lovecraft to Stephen King. Besides the lyrical change, there's also a transmutation in overall tone this time around, as the writing shifts towards a guitar-focused sound. Don't fret though symphonic fans – that doesn't mean the other instruments get left behind, as in addition to the strings and wind instruments the band also brings on piano and oboe.

“Eldritch” likes to play around with different sounds and rarely ever stagnates, offering a smooth blend of different tones, pacing, speeds, and styles. There's the clear '90s era Dimmu Borgir influence with loads of old school blast beats, but also plenty of melodic moments, creepy sound effects, and even tech and groove oriented moments. There's the blackened death metal of “Walpurgis” (think along the lines of Belphegor) with its frantic pace, then the interlude filled offering “The Great God Pan” with voice overs of passages read straight from the source material.

“Dagon” pulls from both worlds, starting out melodic and then shifting into full-on black metal, creating a feel of dark wonder that brings to mind segments from the movie of the same name and the source story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Opening track “Emerald” places piano next to undulating guitar chords and drum beats, complete with sci-fi backing sounds, in such a way that basically demands corresponding slow motion head bangs.

For fans of horror literature or symphonic black metal, this is easily a standout album. Whatever mode any given song is currently in, “Eldritch” is chock full of tales of cataclysmic apocalypse as man treads into that which was not meant to be known, whether it be in the depths of the seas, the heart of the wilderness, or the darkness of the night sky.

Highs: Grade-A symphonic black metal with loads of variation and great subject matter.

Lows: A few songs have a bit too much of the relentless blast beating, and this is an album that's better experienced with headphones so all the sounds come through clearly.

Bottom line: Saille provides a symphonic black metal soundtrack to some of horror literature's best stories.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)