Sometimes you just crave it. This blazing hot crunch, seemingly coming from the fiery depths of hell and trying to destroy your eardrums. The whiff of a ritual, all ready to be performed. All this sweet dissonance in the name of the Dark Lord just ignites this urge in me to slap some corpse paint on my face, put on my leaded boots, and don the spikes.
And Gnosis, the latest and fourth release of the Belgian band Saille, does exactly that. You really feel like moving down the hallway, beyond yonder red door, and down the dreaded stairs into the reeking darkness.
Many Black Metal gigs drone you to death with this abyssal sound, subdued drums, and crabby rasps that really don’t raise any emotions. The dime-a-dozen variety pack with no allure, zing, or further interest. And those can – by that token – be dealt with in one stroke.
Now, Gnosis does definitely not fall into this category. Saille knocked exactly that additional amount of spice into their tune that the rebellious Forteresse never managed to deliver. Once you start on the record a delicious mélange of the ritualistic Darkend with a fair share of Dark Portrait starts to appear rapidly.
The band members know their business, going for some sort of full altar-driven dissonance in the first track Benei ha’Elohim. An interesting choice for a track name by the way. Those were the sons of God. Fallen angels, or even extraterrestrials for some, who produced human offspring with local womenfolk, the animals. I just love the twisted interpretations by the adepts of the nailed god of this unique passage of the bible.
And Saille like to knock about this very specific biblical landscape as the track Genesis 11;1-9 can attest. Only for that one Gnosis talks about Babel (or Babylon) and its infamous tower.
Now, all of that dredging about long-forgotten myths centers around the theme.
This is about – and I quote – the “Promethean ideal and its Luciferian counterpart” no less, by Loki. And that is interesting: For this fourth album, the band decided to go a different, deeper, and darker route, away from their penchant for Cthulhu-infested tales.
In addition, the band now comes as a five-piece. The founding member Dries Gaerdelen left the band and is now seemingly employed in the booking office.
But back to Gnosis.
Pandaemonium Gathers – da numba two track – kicks it up a notch to the next level. In best Darkend-ish fashion to boot. Closely followed by its successor Blôt that delivers this ‘fuck yeah’ gut-punch towards the middle, when it really lets loose. This is followed by a stellar solo by the way, which is pretty rare on this disc.
This is also when one of the main strengths of Gnosis and the new Saille comes to the forefront.
Their tracks build around pretty genial artifice. Mixing their rough Black Metal shenanigans with acoustics, raspy clear vocals, and atmospheric interludes at times. And this keeps the interest going, unlike the aforementioned droners that just try to beat you into the dust.
Now, towards the end, the album loses some steam if we can call it that. Or just crunch not delivered at blue flame levels heat anymore. To our good fortune, Saille redeem themselves with the last track 1904 Era Vulgaris that pulls out the stops once more before our ears can finally rest.
In conclusion, Gnosis delivers a sturdy and epic piece of red-hot Black Metal to your earphones. The album convinces with a re-imagined down in the pit Black Metal concoction they manage to keep alive with the skillful inclusion of acoustics, classical, and wind instruments, plus a sprinkle of clear voice rap-like interludes. It is as if the band re-invented the Northern way of Black Metal all over again.
For lovers of the genre, this is a pretty cool piece of darkly harsh metal. I guarantee you won’t get bored. Go for it.
Ed’s note: New record’s out. Saille in action. Go check it out.