The Orion Prophecy
Although the symphonic black metal scene has become overcrowded in recent years with super-polished Dimmu Borgir clones, Belgian band Saille has taken a much more raw approach with their debut album, Irreversible Decay. Rather than paying homage to these bombastic acts, Saille plays a style of symphonic black metal that harkens back to the early pioneers of the genre (particularly Emperor). Saille's sound isn't groundbreaking or terribly original, but Irreversible Decay is an excellently crafted work of art and a breath of fresh air in the modern symphonic black metal scene. For only their debut album, Saille have gotten off on the right foot with an album that almost guarantees a successful future.
As previously mentioned, the music on Irreversible Decay is symphonic black metal characterized by the founders of the genre. Although you will hear hints of Dimmu Borgir, I hear more nods in the direction of Emperor, early Arcturus, or even a bit of Burzum during the darker ambient-influenced sections. As such, Saille isn't breaking many boundaries, but the end result is nothing short of satisfying. The production is pretty raw without ever sounding lo-fi or anything like that. My biggest (and only) complaint is that the length of the album is just too much. 63 minutes proves to be too long, and a "samey" feeling begins to develop about halfway through. A few more memorable compositions and a shorter running length would've ultimately enhanced my experience significantly. The musicianship of Saille is impeccable, and I especially have to give a nod to the terrific keyboard playing from Dries Gaerdelen. The atmosphere he adds to the album is unbeatable, and his neo-classical influences are also admirable.
Irreversible Decay has created a lot of waves in black metal circles, and it's not hard to understand why. This is an excellent symphonic black metal album from a young band with tons of potential and promise. The compositional quality is a bit mixed, though, and I can't quite put it into as high of regard as some other reviewers have. If Saille can hone in a bit on making more consistent compositions, I sense a terrific sophomore album on the horizon. For this promising and enjoyable debut album, I'll go with 3.5 stars. I'd recommend fans of old school symphonic black metal to definitely give this a spin.
2. Passages of the Nemesis
3. Overdose of Gray
4. Plaigh Allais
5. The Orion Prophecy