We analyse the performance of the explicit algebraic subgrid-scale stress model(EASSM) of Marstorp et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 639, 2009, pp. 403–432) inlarge eddy simulation (LES) of plane channel and the flow in a channel withstreamwise periodic hill-shaped constrictions (periodic hill flow) which induceseparation. The LESs are performed with Code Saturne which is an unstructuredcollocated finite volume solver with a second-order spatial discretisationsuitable for LES of incompressible flow in complex geometries. At first, performanceof the EASSM in LES of plane channel flow at two different resolutionsusing the Code Saturne and a pseudo-spectral method is analyzed. It is observedthat EASSM predictions of the mean velocity and Reynolds stresses aremore accurate than with the conventional dynamic Smagorinsky model (DSM).The results with the pseudo-spectral method were in general more accurate.In the second step, LES with the EASSM of flow separation in the periodichill flow is compared to LES with the DSM, no subgrid-scale model and thehighly resolved LES data of Breuer et al. (Computers & Fluids, vol. 38, 2009,pp. 433–457) using the DSM. Results show that the mean velocity profiles,the friction and pressure coefficients, the length and shape of the recirculationbubble, as well as the Reynolds stresses are considerably better predicted bythe EASSM than the DSM and the no subgrid-scale model simulations. It wasalso observed that in some parts of the domain the resolved strain-rate andsubgrid-scale shear stress have the same sign. The DSM cannot produce acorrect subgrid-scale stress in this case, in contrast to the EASSM.