An antidote to the swathe of increasingly trite US post-black metal comes from the east, in the form of Poland’s Saule’s self-titled debut, noteworthy for a self-assuredness rarely found on debuts, and an altogether more experimental take on the style: artful without pretension. The rewards aren’t instantaneous; the band take their time building up the album’s sparse soundscapes until breaking point, as on the eight-minute III. Its initial warmth belies the personal tragedy it so intimately explores as percussion-heavy bouts are interspersed with a salve of delicacy before the onset of pace and urgency that is the track’s gratifying denouement. VI manages to find joy and positivity amidst its feral-paced abandon without ever sounding twee. Formed in 2015 and full of ambient tortured soul and shivering substance, Saule took their time to perfect their lineup and composition and it really shows. If experimentations in this field are to prevail, records like this are essential finds to make the continuing search worthwhile.
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