"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Sael - "Ocean" (CD)

Sael - "Ocean" CD cover image

"Ocean" track listing:

1. Ocean
2. Ivresse de Lune
3. Instrumental
4. Un Cri dans L'Eternite

Reviewed by on October 23, 2009

"One could lose himself in the madness that can go from hectic, sounding like a train derailing, and mellow melancholy in one song."

French black metallers Sael have more in common with their Norwegian neighbors than their own countrymen in sound. The debut album “Ocean” has four tracks of sorrowful and powerfully bleak black metal with some strange distortions and sound effects tossed into the mix for a chilling effect. One could lose himself in the madness that can go from hectic, sounding like a train derailing, and mellow melancholy in one song. Black metal is often infused with another genre to give the band a personality and distinguish it from other black metal. This band’s strongest tie-in is a scary psychedelic sound, and it works extremely well with the traditional black metal parts.

The opening song and title track “Ocean” is definitely psychedelic-infused. The music begins slowly and menacingly. There are acoustic guitar interludes that cut off the darkness just to throw the listener right back in with no notice. When the dark music starts again a technical guitar plays somewhere in the background that you strain to hear when all of a sudden someone screams in your ear and makes you rear back in pain. Serge Usson’s vocals are very similar to Varg Vikerne’s mournful cries when Burzum was still around. You may think the Count took a trip to France undercover to record some music. The melody and pace changes constantly and have a variety of pitches that separate Sael from traditional black metal bands by leaving the dirge at least a few times. “Ivresse de Lune” is a more traditional song however, as it’s very fast with constant quick strumming and double-bass drums.

The third song “Instrumental” is obviously an instrumental piece except for the inclusion of a sound clip of a man speaking about the evils of government. As for the music itself, the interesting thing to note was a section of clean guitars that arpeggioded non-stop for some time and could have been mistaken for straight power metal. Finally, “Un Cri dans L’Eternite” is a recall of Burzum. It’s a slow paced and extremely heavy black metal track that places you in the heart of the cold and unforgiving forest of Northern Europe.

The listening experience here is very powerful. The music sucks you in and scares you. Blasting it from your car speakers to impress the ladies at the local hang out would only work on someone like me. This is a sophisticated listen that requires your full attention and demands your respect.

Highs: Creepy good listen. Puts you in another world.

Lows: Not able to be listened to casually, it's so heavy.

Bottom line: The heaviest matter on Earth

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)