Saille - Ritu
Code666 Records
Black Metal
9 songs (47:27)
Release year: 2013
Saille, Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
Symphonic black metal can be awful, but Ritu is an example of how to execute it with style and (dare I say?) sophistication. It is impressive how much depth and intrigue is squeezed from well-worn elements.

Saille is a six piece band, and while I wouldn’t normally comment on that fact, in this case it shows. While this is certainly an ‘orthodox’ album, there’s also a lot going on- different instrumental textures, different compositional ideas, different kinds of hook. The sound generally takes a melodic approach to black metal in which synths are used frequently but (usually) subtly to highlight the guitar parts. In this sense, there’s a clear influence from early Emperor and perhaps also from their stalwart countrymen, Enthroned. But the songs can be varied and complex, with a surprising number of different layers. Subcutaneous Terror, for example, uses faint flourishes of pizzicato strings not as a bolt-on, but in a way that intertwines and feeds into the climactic lead guitar lines. Upon the Idol of Crona uses organ sounds to add a creepy abandoned fairground ambiance.

There are also some tracks here which are quite striking. Drawing inspiration from Lovecraft is par for the course, but Fhtagn uses the inspiration of the swamp-dwelling Cthulhu cult to build a tense and sinister song based around slow, tribal drumming, and culminating in a freaky, chanting invocation (Ia! Ia!). Sati is imperious, making highly effective use of slow tempos and multi-layered lead guitar harmonies to emulate the more funereal branches of melodeath. Its woebegone melodies are powerful, but the random scream which punctuates the track also hints at a sense of sinister whimsy. And, on Haunter of the Dark, a pleasingly creepy repeated synth riff takes the lead in building up to a monumental climax. Not much else to say here- this is convincing, expertly constructed black metal.

Killing Songs :
Fhtagn, Sati, Haunter of the Dark
Charles quoted 90 / 100
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