I thought symphonic black metal was a horse beaten to death? In the mid-to-late ‘90’s, that style of metal was what crept out from underneath every toadstool, every rock and from out of every darkened cave known to man. A dwarf’s handful of bands survived the explosion and ensuing fallout (Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir) but most either fell by the wayside or altered their approach to music. Suffice it say, it’s become rather uncommon lately to hear a good new band going the symphonic black metal route. The new kids tend to gravitate toward retro thrash, retro death or that horrendous Cascadian black metal trend.

However, an insidious monster has been festering in Ghent, Belgium for a few years and after a decent debut album (Irreversible Decay) in 2011, Saille have unleashed Ritu. Capturing virtually everything great about one of metal’s most criticized subgenres, Ritu is a delight to absorb.

It’s filled to the rim with sweeping melodies, vicious black metal riffs, diverse drumming, gripping atmosphere, and thoughtful guitar solos when called upon. Each song on Ritu has its own uniqueness, resulting in an album that never stagnates along the way. There’s a plenty to love about Ritu, especially when the sextet smoothly transitions from scathing mayhem to more melodic, sometimes brooding intervals. Nothing on the album demonstrates this more than highlight “Runaljod”, a song so powerful that it probably should have closed the album out. Whether it’s record opener “Blood Libel”, the enchanting “Upon the Idol of Crona” or the wicked “Haunter of the Dark”, Saille hits the nail squarely on the head and drives the sonofabitch deep into the wall.

While Ritu isn’t the most original album on the market today – one can hear a myriad of influences at every turn – Saille brandishes a style that they can proudly claim their own. They wear their influences on their sleeves, yes, but they also infuse enough spirit and passion into each passage on Ritu to make this one stand out. An early year-end best-of candidate this is.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
April 8th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    huh, sounds listen-worthy

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I’ll check this out, I still love this genre when done right

  3. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    This band is seriously ripping. they’ve kind of got that mad hermit demon summoner thing of Akercocke, but with a lot of sound from Emperor and Borgir circa 98.

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah this reminded me of Spiritual Black Dimensions-era Dimmu, but with the sweeping density of Anorexia Nervosa or Limbonic Art. I like the sound overall though the songs haven’t really leapt out at me yet (though to be fair I was listening as background music while I was working, so I need to give it another more focused listen). Good so far though!

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