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

Saille - "Ritu" (CD)

Saille - "Ritu" CD cover image

"Ritu" track listing:

1. Blood Libel (4:32)
2. Subcutaneous Terror (6:30)
3. Fhtagn (4:11)
4. Upon the Idol of Crona (6:27)
5. Sati (5:55)
6. A Titan's Sacrifice (3:24)
7. Haunter of the Dark (5:29)
8. Runaljod (5:45)
9. Ritual Descent (6:08)

Reviewed by on December 12, 2012

"While the big names have slowly become caricatures of themselves and lost credibility over time, Saille is a symphonic black metal act that keeps the dark flame burning."

The usual symphonic black metal suspects were a bit absent this year, with Carach Angren bringing out one of the only major releases, but those who missed their symphonic fix can look forward to Saille’s new album “Ritu.” Officially due out at the very beginning of 2013, this mix of old and new is a triumph for the genre, and an album to seek out for anyone who can’t wait for the next Dimmu Borgir or Gothmog disc.

The nine tracks featured on “Ritu” blend together the aesthetics of earlier black metal with much more modern ideas and songwriting. If “overproduced” is a dirty word that sees regular use in your vocabulary, this album will be a welcome respite as a return to the fuzzier sound of ’90s black metal, where the screamed vocals are lower in the mix. That old-school production doesn’t stop the modern elements from shining through, however, with a host of melodic, atmospheric, and creepy sounds hiding out in the background or popping up in-between the heavier parts.

There’s no doubt that Saille’s latest album shares quite a few similarities with Dimmu Borgir in the mixing of symphonic and extreme music, but “Ritu” has an undeniable kvlt edge that makes it more appealing for those who can’t take old Dimmu seriously anymore. Songs like “Fhtagn” have a ritualistic feel with the repeating chords and the recurring chants of “Ia, Ia!” while other tracks shift gears and become more folk-metal oriented, such as “Runaljod.”

While the big names have slowly become caricatures of themselves and lost credibility over time, Saille is a symphonic black metal act that keeps the dark flame burning. The album sticks to the roots of the style, while still trying out new things, but never lets go of that underground feel that brought many to this type of metal in the first place.

Highs: Symphonic black metal with a good mix of style and substance.

Lows: The sound quality is on the fuzzy end, so if you need a crystal clear production, you may get less out of the album.

Bottom line: The symphonic black metal drought is over, as Saille's second album hits the right blend of extreme and melodic.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)