Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Code 666
This is the third album for the Belgians. The album stretches lyrically amongst classical modern (or not) horror and fantasy literature and this is an attempt to provide the symphonic metal soundtrack to accompany these well-known legends or books.
Specifically, in the song “Walpurgis” we find the (basically) German myth of Walpurgisnacht, the “night of the witches”. In “Great God Pan” the band discusses the myth of the goatshaped ancient Greek god Pan. “Aklo” is referred to the fictional language, which is supposed to have magical powers and is first seen in Arthur Machen’s novel “The White People”, while H.P.Lovecraft also mentioned it in some of his writings. “Cold War” is obviously based on the book “Who goes there?” by John W.Campbell, judging by the sample from the movie “The Thing”, which we can detect in the song. “I am Eternal, child. I am the eater of worlds and of children. And you are next!”, the famous clown in Stephen King’s “It” threatened us and this is the theme of the song “Eater of Worlds”. “Red Death” is certainly based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, when “Dagon” is centered on the ancient Mesopotamian god, with which also H.P.Lovecraft dealt with. Lastly, “Carcosa” (those of you who have seen True Detective series know what is about) speaks about the mythical city, Ambrose Bierce first wrote about, though was made known by Robert W. Chambers in his book «The King In Yellow”.
Enough with the (lengthy) report of the lyrical concepts the of the album’s songs, let’s enter into the band’s music. Their influences are obviously coming from the major bands of the genre (Dimmu Borgir, Limbonic Art,Carach Angren ), while their sound resembles a great deal of Abigail William’s. What we have here is a whole lot of keyboards and atmospheric parts, enriched with recitations of literary texts or fragments of movie dialogues based on the foretold books. All these played along with shifting rythms, ranging from blastbeats to mid tempo riffs, sparse clean vocals and guitar solos provide us the indispensable diversity the genre demands. The band’s technical ability is, fortunately, more than adequate, having in mind that the attempt to perform in a challenging manner overestimating your abilities may end up in a parody. The production on the other hand is just like the classic albums of the genre have defined it, crystal clear, giving prominence to the orchestration, not at the expense of the rest of the instruments.
So, Saille is aiming high with this album –good for them- however they unfortunately are not able to completely fulfill their expectations, in my opinion. This album just fails to become the long awaited genre’s masterpiece. This is a result of their gross resemblance of the classic symphonic metal bands, which evidently leads to lack of originality. One can say, how original can a band playing symphonic black nowadays be? Not much I guess, still the album suffers from other illnesses as well, meaning the band’s incapacity to compose songs that are top-level from start to finish, this implying that they lack of musical genius. Moreover, the clean vocals are not quite good, in my ears, while the lead guitars are unskillful. The LP is repetitive and I think it leads to being quite dull at times.
In conclusion, “Eldritch” suggests a fair release that will probably be a satisfying one for the fans of the genre, this year being very poor to symphonic black metal releases; still it did not give me any chills.