Stirring from a creeping lilt into a frictional sprawl, Symphonic Black Metal artisans Saille usher in their fourth album, Gnosis. Its predecessor, Eldritch (both Aural/code666) made great strides to establish this cerebral aggressor as an act of pedigree and violence; a burgeoning reputation that this darker, more ferocious offspring will serve only to further. Continue reading
While roaming the green green grass of Bloodstock Festival earlier this year, Ghost Cult caught up with Saille to discuss their first appearance at the legendary festival, and how work on their next opus is coming along…
If there was something special about Bloodstock Festival in 2015, aside from the bands and the people of course, it was the constant sunshine and heat; something we always hope for at UK festivals but we rarely get (anyone who has encountered Download Festival at its worst will testify to). However, while this is great for the fans it does not necessarily prove to be so for those bands on the main stage who strive for dark and haunting atmospherics. The likes of Agalloch and 1349 across the weekend made due effort and came out well; for poor Belphegor the presence of butterflies clearly visible to the stage proved too comical to take them seriously.
With their debut Bloodstock appearance on the Sophie Tent instead of the main stage, Belgian black metallers Saille luckily benefited from the tent atmosphere, able to showcase their tone and visuals unaffected, and as a result proved one of the weekends highlights. Speaking to vocalist Dennie Grondelaers and guitarist Reinier Schenk before their Sunday set, they both understand their stage positioning, and are very positive about their setting.
“We have to accept the fact that we are a growing band; if we are on the main stage we would just vanish into nothing” begins Grondelaers, philosophically.
Schenk “I prefer to play inside because we can bring our own light show”
Grondelaers “Its certainly interesting for black metal bands to play in the sunlight.”
With a very strong release ethic which has seen 3 albums in the last 4 years, Saille have, unsurprisingly reached UK shores more frequently as of late, but Bloodstock represents their first festival appearance, at least in the UK. With so many festivals across Europe now, competition is as fierce as ever. Grondelaers muses “I don’t think it’s actually well known (outside of the UK), but people who know Bloodstock are really excited about it, but I also think the main audience is people on the mainland.”
Schenk: “There is a lot of competition on the continent, a lot of small countries and huge festivals, if you can’t see a band there then maybe come here, like Emperor last year.”
Grondelaers “Plus it’s the same weekend for Party San in Germany and Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic.”
Despite the competitive nature of the festival season however, Saille are very positive about Bloodstock and say there is a big plus on its side. Grondelaers explains: “It’s a small festival, there are very big bands but on a smaller scale, compared to say Graspop which is nice but its huge, about 50,000 people. Here it’s half (that) and much more laidback, more relaxed and you don’t have to walk around. You don’t have to walk 4 hours on some sandy trail to get to your camping spot.”
With the festival season still in full swing even after Bloodstock, Saille have a busy schedule of more European festivals before returning to regular venues, and the writing of the follow up to last years Eldritch(Aural Music). With a very fast paced release schedule before, this time around they want to take things differently. On the subject of new music, Grondelaers adds “We want to take a little more time for the next album, we are not putting any deadlines on it this time.”
Reiner Schenk continues in blunt fashion. “Deadlines always destroy something, if it’s the artwork or the production, it sucks.”
Grondelaers “It’s a bit too early to talk about it but we have pretty much worked out the concept will be about pain and suffering.”
“We tried butterflies and love but that was taken already” Schenk deadpans.
WORDS BY CHRIS TIPPELL
Bloodstock Festival (aka Bloodstock Open Air or BOA) has added five more bands to its already stacked line-up for 2015. New to the bill are reformed sludge metallers Raging Speedhorn, prog-metal exports Xerath, Trepalium, Villainy and Godsized. Taking place August 6th – 9th at Walton on Trent, Derbyshire UK. Tickets are on sale now by phone (24hr ticketline at 0871 230 5584 )or online and include an array of camping and VIP ticket options. Camper van pitches are now all sold out.
Already announced to the bill over four massive stages are major acts such as Friday’s headliner Trivium and special guests Sabaton, Saturday’s headliner Within Temptation and special guests Opeth, Sunday’s headliner Rob Zombie and special guests Black Label Society, also Cannibal Corpse, Ihsahn, Sepultura, Orange Goblin, Death T.A, Nuclear Assault, 1349, Napalm Death, Dark Angel, Armored Saint, Belphegor, Overkill, Ensiferum, Agalloch, Korpiklaani, Pro-Pain, Enslaved, Wolf, Delain, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Godflesh, Lawnmower Deth, Mordred, Ethereal, Onslaught, Oaf, Pritchard Vs Dainton, Conan, Planet Of Zeus, Bast, Saille, Batallion, Destrage with more bands to be announced in the coming weeks.
No genre is set in stone, but Black Metal has been through quite a series of self-discoveries since three goons from Newcastle covered themselves in leather and spikes. Belgian six-piece Saille represent what I can’t help but think of as the “niceifying” of Black Metal, and the nine symphonic, atmospheric tracks on Eldritch (Code 666) may come as something of a shock if you’re used to the nastier end of the genre.
Not that this is going to set charts alight anytime soon, of course – by true mainstream standards the factors that make Black Metal unappealing (harsh shrieked vocals, buzzing guitars, sparsely but effectively used blast-beats) are still present, but they’re assembled with a grace, a breadth of expression, even a delicateness that Euronymous would have taken as a personal insult. The pomp and bombast that often characterises much “symphonic” Black Metal is also absent, and it’s a welcome absence – this isn’t Dimmu Borgir thundering away like Mussorgsky conducting Bowser’s Theme, but a much more reflective and considered approach to melodic, keyboard saturated Black Metal. The main reference point that occurred to me while listening was Schammasch, and though Eldritch lacks the depth and profundity of their monstrous Contradiction (Prosthetic), it still speaks positively of their knack for constructing Black Metal which is both catchy and deep.
You’re waiting for the catch, of course, and in this case it’s that Eldritch doesn’t quite have the depth of ideas needed to keep attention across its nine-track length and starts to outstay its welcome a little. There are plenty of excellent ideas for the band to build on, however – from the spoken-word accompaniment of ‘Great God Pan’ to the churningly catchy melodies of ‘Aklo’ – that if they can trim their excess fat and develop more focus next time they might deliver something genuinely special.
For now, Eldritch comes highly recommended for anyone who doesn’t mind their Black Metal on the “nice” side.
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One of the more remarkable black metal releases of late is Ritu by Belgian symphonic black metal outift Saille. Dewie caught up with guitarist Reinier Schenk and asked him all about the band’s latest album, playing with Melechesh, the Belgian metal scene and Reinier’s personal musical taste. Continue reading