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Hail Spirit Noir - Mayhem In Blue CD (album) cover


Hail Spirit Noir

Experimental/Post Metal

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4 stars Hail Spirit Noir's third album finds them seeing just how far apart they can take the two poles of their sound - psychedelic rock and black metal - whilst still bridging the two worlds effectively. Just as you think they've entirely succumbed to one sonic world, elements of the other erupt into the sound, and yet somehow manage to come across like an entirely natural aspect of the song, even though I'm damn sure the Pink Fairies never threw in screamed vocals and blast beats into their songs. Although I don't think it quite hits the perfect blend that was offered by Oi Magoi, it's still another interesting mutation of the band's sound that proves the sheer versatility of their schtick.
Report this review (#1678026)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Mayhem in Blue" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Greek progressive metal act Hail Spirit Noir. The album was released through Dark Essence Records in October 2016. Itīs the successor to "Oi Magoi" from 2014. Hail Spirit Noir was formed in 2010 by three members of Transcending Bizarre?. The band released their debut full-length studio album "Pneuma" in 2012.

Stylistically the music on "Mayhem in Blue" continues the psychadelic/space rock tinged progressive extreme metal style of the first two albums by the band. Itīs music which owes as much to artists like early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind as it does to an act like Darkthrone and their ilk. The black metal element is relatively restrained here though, but there are a couple of pretty raw moments featured on the album (including a few blast beats). Mostly though weīre treated to a more mellow, dark, and twisted progressive rock/metal sound. Keyboards and especially organ play an important role in the bandīs music, and you can add The Doors to the list of influences as keyboard player Harris often sounds like a bizarre dark carnival version of Ray Manzarek.

"Mayhem in Blue" features 6 tracks and a full playing time of 40:29 minutes, and all tracks featured on the album are high quality compositions. The tracks are adventurous, memorable, and dynamic. The catchiness of the material is one of the great assets of the album, and even the 10:52 minutes long "Lost in Satan's Charms" is instantly catchy. Itīs probably because the band donīt go overboard with complex song structures and technical playing, but instead keep it relatively simple and focused on atmosphere. Simple doesnīt mean regular vers/chorus simple though and the band often break away from that tried and true formula to create more adventurous structures, but they still manage to keep things accessible.

The musicianship is strong on all posts, and the playing tight yet organic. Lead vocalist/guitarist Theoharis has a powerful raspy black metal style vocal delivery, but the pleasant warm clean vocals by guest vocalist Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos are even stronger. The combination of the two vocal styles bring much to Hail Spirit Noirīs music. "Mayhem in Blue" features a raw organic sound production, which brings out the best in the music, and upon conclusion itīs another really strong release by Hail Spirit Noir. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1694367)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hello from Greece.I ve always appreciated the greek black metal scene from its beginning.i believe that black metal is a music with a wide range of imagination,a technical music and so underrated.For me there are two lets say schools of black metal.norwegian and greek.I purchased the latest release from hail spirit noir and OH MY GOD!!WHAT IS THIS?This is one of the most unique sounds i ve ever heard.Norwegian,greek black metal poisoned with LSD and other 70s drugs. I knew that black metal is a wide ranged music,but this is unbelievable.As im listening to this album i realize that progrock will never die,because of its nature.Prog rock is like expands and expands and expands...... If you wanna know progressive black metal is this is the album for you.This is the future of music.Just another crumple of the universe called prog rock.easily 5 stars.
Report this review (#1715896)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you know of Greece's Hail Spirit Noir, you know they're weird. Firstly, there's a 70's feel infused throughout their music, as if this could be an obscure, psychedelic-oriented band from progressive rock's golden age. The keyboards, sometimes imitating the waver of a flute, sometimes maintaining the prog rock sound, are crucial to evoking Mayhem in Blue's old-school vibes, though that fairly frequent feeling of being on an acid trip through hell is probably the most important aspect of all.

But then comes the black metal, more as an equal part of the fusion rather than the core sound of the band. Present mostly in the harsh vocals and lyricism, now and then it's in the riffs and the blast beat drumming. Several bands have attempted the black metal/psychedelia crossover, and none I've heard so far have done it in such a strangely accessible way, such a memorable manner. As always, Hail Spirit Noir has several different types of songs present on their album, and they're good at writing and executing all of them. I Mean You Harm showcases their more straightforward, aggressive side, emphasizing the black metal half of their sound. The title track is a highlight ? with open, darkly atmospheric sections and well-integrated heavier parts. Each track is distinct, and some have unique and instantly recognizable bits, such as the quirky, odd-time, and hard to follow keyboard intro to Riders to Utopia, the symphonic instrumentation of How to Fly in Darkness, and the carnival music of Lost in Satan's Charms. The band is able to keep momentum for heavier areas, drop it when necessary and transform it. The solos are strong, with the exception of the uncertain, wandering one on Riders to Utopia.

Unfortunately, Mayhem in Blue's main flaw is that when the band tries to be creepy, sometimes it comes off as more like a fun Halloween party than what I assume they were going for. It doesn't totally ruin the effect, as it's only a little cheesy instead. The "open" atmosphere works very well, on the other hand, when the music is soft but dark, the drums are sparse, and the clean vocals shine. This is especially effective on the title track (as mentioned earlier) and The Cannibal Tribe Came From The Sea.

Mayhem in Blue is on par with the rest of Hail Spirit Noir's work. The band continues to evolve, if only subtly, as they integrate small new oddities, new atmospheres, and new songwriting styles into what they've already accomplished. They are able to mold their unique, signature sound to different songs with different needs. Mayhem in Blue, along with Hail Spirit Noir's previous works, is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are searching for something on the stranger side of music.

Report this review (#1732017)
Posted Saturday, June 10, 2017 | Review Permalink

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