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Albums – Irreversible Decay

cover_saille_irreversible decay

1. Nomen
2. Passages of the Nemesis
3. Overdose of Gray
4. Plaigh Allais
5. The Orion Prophecy
6. Revelations
7. Maere
8. Tephra
9. Tremendous

Total playing length : 43:26
Release : March 4th, 2011
Recorded & mixed between September 2009 and September 2010 in Shumcot Studio by Reinier Schenk
Mastered in October 2010 at Da Goose Music & Mastering by Jeffrey De Gans

Recording line-up

Jonathan Vanderwal: Screams & Guitars
Dries Gaerdelen: Keys & Vocals
Gert Monden: Drums
Reinier Schenk: Bass & guitar solo on “Tremendous”
Filip Dupont: Additional screams on “Tephra”
Marco Born: Accoustic guitars & guitar solo on “Passages of the Nemesis”
Bram Van Eeno: Violin
Mathias Brys: Violin
Vincent Werbrouck: Cello
Veerle Nobus: Flugelhorn


Heavy Metal Haven (10/10) - English
Irreversible Decay is the debut album by black metal band Saille, released in 2011. The music of Saille is best described as Symphonic Black metal, however there are times within their music that where Classical Black Metal would perhaps be the more accurate description to give them.

The album begins with an instrumental piece that really plays on the classical/symphonic influences in the band’s sound. This is a nice lead in to the first actual song, Passages Of The Nemesis. Initial impression of the album at this stage are that the band are competent at their instruments and that they have not gone that the under-produced route that some black metal bands do, resulting in a good clear sound topped off by some pretty decent vocals which at times remind me of Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. Normally coming from me that wouldn’t be a complement because I can’t say I go much on Csihar’s vocals, but Saille vocalist Jonathan Vanderwal manages to pull off the style in a way that that complements the music well. Instrumentation from the other members of the top is top notch for the style they play, and I find it nice to hear a bit of lead guitar in the music as well. But it’s the classical/symphonic element in the music that really makes Irreversible Decay an interesting album, as it is this that really makes the sound atmospheric.

There is plenty on offer here for the black metal fan, and even to people who don’t enjoy the genre so much. This is a more accessible album than some black metal releases I’ve come across, but it sounds all the better for it. This is symphonic black metal at its finest and to top it all the album proves itself to be no one trick pony as well, with fourth track Plaigh Allais being very progressively inclined with several random changes in the track’s delivery, and it instantly became one of the album’s highlights for me. Another highly is Maere, which is the first song the band released to promote the album. The intro of this one really showcases that classical feel again, to excellent results. It is an album where every song provides some fresh ideas and there isn’t a single track that can be considered the album’s weak link.

All in all Irreversible Decay is without a doubt one of the first truly exciting albums from 2011 and is also one of the best debut’s I’ve heard for some time. The band can safely be proud of this gem. Consider this reviewer highly impressed.

Heavy Metal Haven

Loucifer Speaks (99%) - English
I have literally been on the edge of my seat waiting for the release of this album. The song that has been available via YouTube in recent months, “Maere”, has already become a firm favourite with me.

Trying to pin a description on any band is always a mammoth task, but I thought I’d have a go anyway! I’d probably have to describe Saille as a Neo-Classical Black Metal band and fans of bands like Cor Scorpii should be drooling over “Irreversible Decay”.

Saille have created a ‘must have’ album in my eyes. The songs are sophisticated and melodic… and I’d even go as far as to say that they were majestic. The Black Metal vocals are at just the right level in the mix – they are clear and menacing, but they allow the instrumentation to really take centre-stage. This all works to create a full and complete sounding record.

The album opens with “Nomen” – an intro track that really sets the scene for what’s to come. “Passages of the Nemesis” is, quite frankly, a masterpiece. It weaves through soundscapes and firmly embeds the listener into Saille’s world. “Overdose of Gray” is a more savage track, but it still manages to retain those melodic undertones that the band have managed to use to their optimum effect. The thing that really stands out about this track is the strange, almost circus melody that runs through parts of it (have a listen and you’ll hopefully get what I’m on about!) – this successfully creates an unhinged and spooky atmosphere – firmly cementing this track as my overall favourite from the album.

“Plaigh Allais” is pretty much as dramatic and cinematic as they come, and it really forces you to give it your full and undivided attention. Saille are certainly not here to make background music. “The Orion Prophecy” and “Revelations” are a couple of those tracks that justify the ‘majestic’ label. At times they remind me of Dimmu Borgir… and I like Dimmu, so this is a good thing. Then it’s on to “Maere” – an absolutely beautiful track! Check it out by viewing the video at the end of this review. “Tephra” is a massive sounding track and I love the way that the vocals sound almost tortured and the outro is shocking beautiful and tranquil – a wonderful juxtaposition! The album closes with “Tremendous” which is… er… tremendous and carries a folk element in its intro that hasn’t been quite so apparent in the other tracks.

As you may have concluded whilst reading this review, I really like this album. In fact, I cannot find a single fault with it. There is absolutely nothing that I would change. At all. Ever. Everything is well and truly spot on. However, I’m only going to award it 99%. “Why?” I hear you cry! Well, 100% would imply perfection and there would be no topping it. But, I really think that Saille are capable of producing something even more awe-inspiring than this.

I know it’s only January, but I’m confident in saying that “Irreversible Decay” will be in my Top 10 albums of the year come December.

Rating: 99%
Loucifer Speaks

Ragherrie (9/10) - Dutch
‘Voor de fans van Keep Of Kalessin, Carach Angren en Tartaros’ staat op de bijgevoegde informatie. Saille komt uit België en maakt symfonische black metal. Binnenkort verschijnt hun debuut Irreversible Decay dat een drie kwartier aan symfoblack bevat.

En dat klinkt lekker aangezien de beschrijving helemaal klopt. Saille klinkt erg zwart en agressief met een flinke lepel melodie en als dressing symfonische elementen. Dit voegt enorm veel toe aan de op zich al sterke composities. Muzikaal gezien klinkt het al zeer divers maar de vocalen zijn als een vis in het water. Zo nu en dan lijkt het alsof je in een horrorfilm beland bent.

Diversiteit in overvloed. Er is lang over de totstandkoming van deze plaat gedaan en dat hoor je terug. Behalve vergelijkingen met Carach Angren is een vergelijking met Dimmu Borgir ook niet bepaald onlogisch.Vanaf het begin (Nomen) krijg ik al kippenvel van dit spul. Saille is een soort metalheroïne, elke keer wil je het weer. De zanglijnen in Passages en het gitaarwerk zijn subliem. Er is duidelijk een concept aanwezig en dat waardeer ik.

Het voortreffelijke Revelations zit subliem in elkaar. Een prachtige riff samen met een krachtige blastbeat samen met een stem waar je u tegen zegt. Maere is een gigantische uitschieter vanwege de grootsheid waarmee het opent en opbouwt. Wow-factor 10.

Ik ga hier geen woorden meer aan vuil maken. Dit moet je beleven en gewoon in huis halen. Het is een must voor elke fan van Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren en Tartaros. Muziek in 2011 waar nog moeite voor gedaan is, het bestaat! Saille is de naam.


Cack Blabbath - English
There is a fair amount of decent Black Metal, of various flavours, coming out at the moment. Fen’s Epoch set the standard for the others to beat and hot on it’s heels comes the debut offering from Belgian band Saille.
Now it seems that Black Metal bands don’t just get together to play music, oh no. Epoch apparently “draws the listener into a windswept and desolate landscape, bereft of hope” and not to be outdone Saille is a project set up to explore “the beauty of destruction”….
And you know what, Irreversible Decay is an excellent example of modern symphonic black metal. It swings between atmospheric acoustic guitar passages and full on raging black metal fury effortlessly. There are the requisite folk-ey influences here but less so than, for example, Fen or Negura Bunget.
The album opens with an instrumental that can honestly be described as pleasant, and which sets the stage for the inevitable explosion of noise. The production is excellent, clear but not over produced as the band have steered clear of the murky, dirty sound favoured by many of their peers.
The mark of an album like this is how well the quiet and the noisy bits sit alongside each other and I have to say that Saille have got the balance just about spot on. It’s not a constant wall of black metal noise but instead has enjoyable quieter passages which make Irreversible Decay more accessible. (97/100) - English
The first album to review in 2011 for should be a memorable one, and how memorable has this “Irreversible Decay” become. The Belgian young, upcoming and very promising symphonic blackmetal band Saille presents us their debut, created by the better part of Belgium’s musicians. They are linked to some of Belgium’s finest metalbands to date (for instance: IN-QUEST, YCON, THE ARCHEST, FRACTURED INSANITY and FLESHMOULD) and have their own studio (Shumcot Studios, owned by Reinier Schenk who did bass on the album and plays the guitar live) so time was no issue. They did take all the time they needed, starting from September 2009 till the release date March 2011 and that sure has paid off.

The majestic composition are dreamy, epic, somewhat spooky and absolutely breathtaking. Thrilling might be another way to describe this fine slab of blackmetal that brings the TVseries “Carnivàle” to mind now and then. The desolate atmosphere created by threatening keys and utterly effective riffs are only to be topped by the icy vocals and fantastic rhythm section. The lyrics fit the music perfectly (who would have thought otherwise when you know Filip Dupont of Gorath was involved?) and there is absolutely no note one can say that is out of place or doesn’t fit. The music itself is very layered (apparently that wasn’t too easy for Reinier to master) and each listen brings forth other sentiments and other parts to discover, whereas the mix of acoustic parts and soundscapes with furious blackmetal has no equal in our country as of today.

Let it be obvious that next to GORATH, Saille is another original and exhilarating blackmetal band that doesn’t like to colour between the lines and with a label as code666 backing them up (think NEGURA BUNGET, FEN, …) it’s only a matter of how hard they will break through and not as must when of if it will happen. Definitely a must-have for fans of LIMBONIC ART, COR SCORPII and the likes. (8,5/10) - English
It is no small secret that symphonic black metal has been in a lull for several years now. Really, calling it a lull is far too nice. A more accurate statement would be to say that it has gone to complete commercialized SHIT for the better part of a decade. Much like melodic death metal, a handful of bands gained massive levels of underground popularity around the turn of the millennium and then promptly let the sub-genre become cartoonish. The style’s greatest flag-bearer, Emperor, broke up as if to signal what should have been the temporary end, but unfortunately those other bands took it into bloated, overly melodramatic, theatrical, and just plain generic territory.

By keeping in mind what (almost) led to the style’s demise and doing exactly the opposite, Belgium’s Saille has produced an excellent debut in Irreversible Decay. The group was formed in 2008 by keyboardist and composer Dries Gaerdelen, who brought together a collection of musicians with the intent of creating aggressive yet symphonic black metal. This includes skilled performers at the normal metal positions but also some actual symphony musicians: two violinists, one cellist, and a flugelhorn player. By using real instruments – but only a few of them – the band finds a welcome balance in the symphonic side of their songs. The resulting music is absolutely loaded with killer tremolo riffage, well-placed Baroque passages, surprising variety with the keys (keep an ear out for the Hammond sound), some great lead work, and insanely-skilled drumming. Saille therefore finds themselves channeling and expanding upon bands such as Emperor, Keep of Kalessin, and even Vreid (the melodic parts, not the form-a-militia stuff).

It’s apparent pretty much from the get-go that Saille does two things mightily right. First, the root of their sound is black metal. This is not highly-simplified metal with an orchestra and blackened vocals pretending to be something it isn’t. This is naturally-produced and riff-obsessed sweeping black metal that also happens to have some strings and keys expertly woven in. The second thing is an extension of the first: the focus is on the songs, and the band’s sound is merely the vehicle with which they are delivered. While this should be an obvious goal for music of many styles, it has become increasingly rare in symphonic black metal over recent years, making Saille stand out instantly. Songs such as “Plaigh Allais,” with its swirling melodies and alternating guitar-string syncopations, or the beastly “Maere,” boasting an especially unforgettable tremolo theme, reveal the depth of song-craft on display on Irreversible Decay. Perhaps the best example is “The Orion Prophecy,” which builds rapidly to a section that shows exactly how great the symphonic metal combination can be when the musical themes are layered with a deft hand. Furthermore, the album as a whole maintains pace and shows a subtle progression throughout its 43 minutes, peaking with fitting finality on the appropriately-titled closer “Tremendous.”

For myself and hopefully countless others, Saille’s arrival is a welcome and oh-so refreshing one. Despite its title, Irreversible Decay shows that symphonic black metal’s decay was indeed not irreversible. This deserves to be mentioned alongside Drautran’s latest and Arkheth’s 2010 masterpiece as albums appealing to even the most estranged fans. We seem to only get one great album in this style each year, so enjoy it, and hold hope that Saille and their equals continue to reinsert a little class into a starved genre. (9/10) - English
Artist: Saille (Belgium)
Album: Irreversible Decay (2011)
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Your 2010 Christmas presents included an awesome Symphonic Black Metal piece by the Belgian group Saille. I praised it for its care and eye for detail and its high level of professionalism. The song in questions, Maere, is just one of many found on the band’s debut record, titled Irreversible Decay, which is scheduled for release in a couple of months – on March 4th to be exact.

Lucky prick that I am, I’ve already got my hands on it through the band’s label Code666 and I’ll be discussing it now, in full fuckin’ detail. Code666 states: “fans of Keep of Kalessin, Carach Angren and Tartaros will love this blend of majestic and threatening Black Metal”. I can only agree, so if you are indeed a fan of those bands, all the more reason to read on.

So, playing this mother right now. First thing that stands out is the total playing time: over an hour and fifteen minutes! I don’t know what amount the album will switch owners for, but I’m guessing this’ll be a lot of Black for your buck! That’s what I thought at first sight in any case, but my player was deceiving me, as the band’s own Dries Gaerdelen pointed out just after publication of this review. Has something to do with the copy protection that adds a fictious virtual – you don’t actually hear any silence – amount to each of the songs, and in reality the album only covers around 45 minutes. Shortest song is an acoustic piece, adding up nearly two minutes minutes, whereas the longest puts in well over seven minutes.

Once again I’d like to stress the clear care and effort that has gone into this release. Symphonic Black Metal is usually a Metal band with one extra dude simulating an orchestra on his keyboard: fake. Saille on the other hand invited a couple of violins, cellos, bugles and trumpets to join the show: REAL! And that shows! This stuff sounds serious and I’ve got the feeling like I’m inside some sort of 19th century Hell movie. Sleepy Hollow atmospheres, so to say, but Metal. Demon souls from Hell coming to rip of your head, then BBQ it and enjoy it with a beer.

But there’s more than just despairing, frightening atmospheres. There’s room for beauty too, though there’ll always be at least a slightly dark undertone. That acoustic song I mentioned is an example, but there’s also a fingerlickingly good interlude in Plaigh Allais. Dries told me there’ll be a music video for that song out soon, and I had hoped it would be out by now so I could spoon feed it to you, but unfortunately it’s not there yet. Also means I haven’t got anything audible to include in today’s post unfortunately, but you’ll just have to click back to the earlier discussion of the Maere song that I linked to at the start of this post. Luckily that’s one of the best tracks on the album!

As you know, I like long songs, I was particularly interested in Passages of the Nemesis, which is the one of well over seven minutes. It’s an awesome piece of work, racing through different emotions and experiences. Heavy tremolo picking in the beginning, with softer, purer tones in the background, almost like the first discovering steps of a prisoner coming out of the cave in which he’s been held for half his life, and entering a new world – pretty much seeing what the album cover shows. Then there are raging riffs and screeching lead guitars tearing the sky apart. A short acoustic interlude and then a guitar solo makes the sky come down altogether. It lasts and it lasts and then leaves us in a world that’s desolate and depressing, but the song just tries to make the most out of it.

There’s another interlude, of clean electric guitar this time and it sketches a magnificent view that is slowly opening up, the clouds pulling away. Eventually the city of fuckin’ doom or something appears in the far distance and its spits out demons and mayhem like madness. In short, the song, like much of the album, is pretty depressing, and it keeps throwing shit at the listener. But also small bits of hope and purity, only to be smacked down by the ever-prevalent despair, until you finally grow mad.

It’s pretty much a given for the album. Destruction, doom, Death, hell are fixed ingredients in most songs, like onions, garlic and tomatoes go into pretty much every Italian dish. The difference is in the amount of hope you’re given before being tortured again. This album will not stimulate many of your guests at your birthday party to stay, but it can provide great accompaniment for depressed or sad moods, in which you don’t know what to do anymore. It’ll slap you hard in the face and tell you your life isn’t all that bad compared to the shit you’ll have to endure when you finally make it to hell. Better enjoy life while you still can.

To put it to you in short: this is an amazing album capable of instantly throwing your mood around and of playing with your sanity like a child plays with ants and spiders and pulls their legs off without remorse or consideration. It is majestic. It’ll also be a bit heavy for some people, so if you consider yourself to possess suboptimal mental strength, reconsider, or your mom might have to wash your brain pieces off the walls of your room. Else: get it as soon as you can!

My Grade: 9.0/10
Buy this when:

you would like Symphonic Black Metal if it didn’t have those Nintendo orchestras
you think happiness, cheerfulness and joy are highly overrated
you don’t deem yourself likely to impulsively blow your cerebrum out (9/10) - German
Symphonischer Black Metal via Code 666 Records? Mit der Veröffentlichung des Debuts der Belgier SAILLE hat sich das renommierte Label (u.a. NEGURA BUNGET, FEN) allem Anschein nach wohl tatsächlich auf eine vollkommene Geschmackssünde eingelassen. Symphonischer Black Metal ist in den meisten Fällen zu einem Schlammpfuhl von Kitsch und allenfalls mäßiger Spielfertigkeit verkommen. Dass Code 666 mit SAILLE einen strategisch äußerst sinnvollen Zug getätigt hat, zeigt sich jedoch schnell, wenn man sich “Irreversible Decay” anhört. Die Belgier interpretieren das Genre nämlich auf eine einfühlsame und handwerkliche Art.

“Handwerklich” will hier heißen, dass SAILLE billigen Tastenexzessen, Filmmusik-Verschnitten und anderem Blödsinn keine Zeit widmen, sondern sich auf wenige, sorgfältig auskomponierte Instrumentalkonstellationen verlassen. So finden auf dem Album ein Flügelhorn, Violinen und ein Cello ihren Einsatz, und ich rede hier von echten Instrumenten, welche die Musik als eigenständige Elemente enorm bereichern. Die klassischen Einflüsse sind hier nicht bloße Zierde, sie sind integraler Bestandteil des musikalischen Ganzen.

Den Grundstein von “Irreversible Decay” bildet jedoch feinster, melodischer Black Metal, der streckenweise stark an EMPEROR, die ersten beiden DISSECTION-Alben oder auch frühere KEEP OF KALESSIN erinnert. Dabei gehen SAILLE äußerst beherzt zu Werke, schlagen mit majestätischen Leadgitarren, raffinierten Tempowechseln und packendend inszenierten Höhepunkten nur so um sich. Ich muss sagen, ich habe selten ein Debut gehört, das eine solche strahlende Dynmaik versprüht hat. Songs wie das überaus verspielte “Plaigh Allais” oder die triumphal anschwellende “Maere” sorgen mit ihren ausdrucksstarken Höhepunkten und ihrer reibungslosen Verspieltheit für großen Hörgenuss. Mit “The Orion Prophecy” stellen SAILLE ihr gutes Näschen für Tempoumschwünge besonders eindrucksvoll zur Schau und entzücken mit einem Wechselspiel von zerfahrenen Riffs und zielstrebigen, markanten Melodiebögen.

“Irreversible Decay” ist ein Album, das man gehört haben muss, um es sich vorstellen zu können. So unverfälscht, selbstbewusst und überzeugend ist schon längere Zeit kein symphonischer Black Metal durch meine Gehörgänge gezischt. “Irreversible Decay” ist ein Feuerwerk spielerischer Eleganz und steckt voller Liebe zum Detail. Ein verdammt starker Erstling!
Punkte: 9/10