Saille – V (Review)

Saille - VThis is the fifth album from Belgian black metallers Saille.

Following on from 2014’s Eldritch and 2017’s Gnosis, Saille now return with V, which contains 46 minutes of new material. Saille are not the same band we have met in the past, however. The 2021 incarnation of Saille is darker and grimmer. The new band logo and artwork style is an indicator of this, but the changes go deeper than just the band’s aesthetic. With a new guitarist and vocalist in the fold, V is a reinvention for Saille, one that’s a resounding success.

The music on V is less polished and rawer, and exudes refined menace and threat. The band have effectively removed the majority of the symphonic elements in their sound and replaced them with death metal ones. The end result is an album that takes Saille’s melodic tendencies and forges around them a more brutal, hostile framework, but one that’s not without atmospheric emotive content.

These songs are well-crafted, and surprisingly catchy in places. The feel is of a raw underground black metal band that has had death metal musculature grafted onto its icy frame. There’s a grandeur here that reminds me of a mix of Keep of Kalessin and Dimmu Borgir, but without the orchestration, and a skilled malevolence that recalls aspects of Marduk‘s engaging delivery. Throw in some classic, traditional black metal that’s been meshed with the aforementioned death metal might, and you have a very compelling collection of tracks.

The new vocalist is certainly a highlight of the new Saille. His range is impressive, taking in deep guttural growls, a spectrum of blackened screams, and even some clean singing. The entire band have taken a strong, confident step forward on their new record, however. They’ve pushed themselves considerably, and I have no hesitation at all in saying that V is their best work to date.

Whether you were on the fence about Saille in the past, or if this is your first encounter with them, make no mistake; V is a beast of an album.

Very highly recommended.

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