I must admit to this. I have been familiar with Saille for some years for two reasons. Firstly, whilst I have enjoyed their previous output and in particular 2017’s ‘Gnosis’, I have always felt distinctly underwhelmed – not because they were doing anything wrongs per se, but because it just seemed to fall in that middle ground of extreme mediocrity (if such a place can exist) where there were no spears poking above a great swathe of sheltering figures. Secondly, I played a gig in support of them at The Black Heart in Camden a few years ago where literally everything that could go wrong for us on the night did. This latter fact sadly tinged Saille for me with a feeling of wanting to curl up in a ball and roll all the way down a hill.
However, life is an everchanging, metamorphic little affair and thank god for that. Even Saille have taken a long hard look in the mirror and embraced a reinvention of their own. The end result is ‘V’ which is nothing short of a triumphant detonation of a new way and a vastly reinvigorated approach.
Even the little things stand out – like the alliterative track titles from start to finish. The album opens like a blackened death metal battering ram that continues to chip away at your foundations through highlights like ‘Fetid Flesh’ and ‘Charnal Chamber’ (I have checked and I still wonder if it should be Carnal…). Then comes the jazz pomp of ‘Loathsome Legacy’, the icy coolness of ‘Baleful Beauty’ before culminating in the harrowing and potentially blackest closer ‘Terror Tapestry’.
Saille have flown out of the traps with this one and provided a glimpse into a place where no one knew they could be found. It is said that one song can make a band, but in this case I think it’s one album that have taken them from the middle ground and pushed them far closer to the edges. And that is going to be the place where they can be seen and fight far harder than the rest in the future.