Saille – Gnosis (Review)

SailleThis is the fourth album from Belgian symphonic black metal band Saille.

The band’s third record Eldritch was an enjoyable listen full of sharp aggression and dark symphonics.

Featuring the same amount of tracks as Eldritch, Gnosis is a shorter listen both on an individual track level and as a holistic entity. This is a good indicator of a slight shift in sound between the two releases; Gnosis is the more direct, refined and darker of the two in some respects.

The band’s sound hasn’t hugely changed, of course, they’ve just narrowed their focus. Taking the familiar elements of their previous release, such as symphonic accompaniments, scathing blast beats, shrieked screams and blackened melodies; Saille have refined these to focus on a bleaker vision for their narratives, one which still manages to be engaging and suitably epic when it’s called for.

This shows a nice progression for the band’s music, as Gnosis on the whole is a tight, aggressive blast of symphonic blackness that doesn’t let the added orchestral elements outgun the aggressive black metal of the band’s core.

These symphonic orchestral elements are arranged well and performed in a very satisfying manner. They play a central role in the band’s music without somehow seeming to, sitting quite nicely atop the professional blackened structures of the songs.

Dark, mysterious melodies are frequently heard; twinned with the added instrumentation of the orchestral parts and working with the shaded distortion of the rhythm guitars, this makes for enjoyable songs that really hit the spot.

It seems that on their fourth release Saille have improved upon themselves. Gnosis is 45 minutes of finely-realised black metal, with enough nuance and atmosphere to provide real depth, while still retaining a core of blackened hatred and aggression that greatly impresses.

A real pleasure to listen to.

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