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HAIL SPIRIT NOIR

Experimental/Post Metal • Greece


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Hail Spirit Noir biography
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR are an experimental, post-black, avant-garde metal band, formed in early 2010 in Thessaloniki, Greece by Theoharis LIRANTZAKIS and Haris, both members of TRANSCENDING BIZARRE? and REX MUNDI. With more than a year's worth on composing new material, the founders started recording their debut album, inviting a set of competent musicians, at Lunatech Studios. Their debut album ''Pneuma'' was ready in 2011, after a long recording procedure. The album was mixed by Dim Douvras (ROTTING CHRIST) and mastered by Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA, AMON AMARTH). Towards the end of that year, they signed with Code666/Aural Music for a worldwide release of their debut, which took place in the spring of 2012.

The band describes their sound as ''a mixture of psychedelic elements, horror, sad melodies and modern day black metal'', while their influences come from a range of styles, from KING CRIMSON to GHOST, OPETH and even DARKTHRONE. Choosing unconventional recording and mixing methods, the band achieves a combination of old school and modern feeling, based mostly on atmospheres rather than (the occasionally apparent) blast beats.

Biography by aapatsos

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PneumaPneuma
AURAL MUSIC 2012
Audio CD$10.11
$17.46 (used)
Oi MagoiOi Magoi
CODE666 2014
Audio CD$10.35
$9.44 (used)
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HAIL SPIRIT NOIR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 25 ratings
Pneuma
2012
3.94 | 47 ratings
Oi Magoi
2014

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HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Oi Magoi by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 47 ratings

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Oi Magoi
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Oi Magoi" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Greek progressive extreme metal act Hail Spirit Noir. The album was released through code666 in January 2014. Hail Spirit Noir was originally formed as a side-project by two members of Greek avant garde/post-black metal act Transcending Bizarre?, but the band's debut album "Pneuma (2012)" turned out to be a major success for the band. Widely praised by critics and fans alike, so it appears that Transcending Bizarre? is put on hold for the moment and all focus is on Hail Spirit Noir.

Stylistically the music on "Oi Magoi" continues the progressive/psychadelic extreme metal style of "Pneuma (2012)". A curious mix of black metal and 70s hard rock/heavy psych and progressive rock with a freakshow atmosphere. The band's use of vintage keyboards add a warm and organic sound to the music which is further enhanced by the earthy and analogue sounding production. The black metal elements are actually not that dominant on "Oi Magoi" and are pretty much limited to raspy vocals and the occasional harder edged distorted riff section (like the opening section in "Satyriko Orgio (Satyrs' Orgy)") and progressive rock listeners not accustomed to extreme metal vocals, should still be able to greatly appreciate large portions of the album. Tracks like "Satan is Time" and especially the 11:29 minutes long "The Mermaid", both feature clean vocals and longer passages that are closer in style to 70s progressive rock than they are to extreme metal of any kind.

It's the darker and more heavy part of the progressive rock from the 70s that's been the influence on Hail Spirit Noir, so even though there are some tranquil and beautiful sections on "Oi Magoi", there is a dark and almost occult atmosphere to the proceedings that works really well within an extreme metal context. The songwriting was generally on a high level on "Pneuma (2012)", but "Oi Magoi" is more consistent and slightly more sophisticated. As a result of that, it's a slightly stronger album than it's predecessor and that actually says a lot since "Pneuma (2012)" was a surprisingly high quality debut album. "Oi Magoi" deserves a 4.5 star (90%) rating.

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 Oi Magoi by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 47 ratings

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Oi Magoi
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Aldebaran_Well

5 stars As we all get older and become more experienced listeners, it's getting harder and harder to discover and listen to bands and artists whose music feels entirely fresh and new. There are some magic moments though, rare as they can be, when we can still find something extraordinary, music that makes you think even when the record stop spinning or albums that make you want to analyze their art, the people who created it and their interaction with our own selves. Bands that carry an aura of mystique in art that has to do with things beyond music. Well, ladies and gentlemen, ''Oi Magoi'' can be such an album for you and, oh, how wonderful this mind trap is! Or, should I say, diabolically wonderful?

It seems that Haris and Theoharis, also members of the very interesting and eccentric Transcending Bizarre?, love the element of weirdness in every project they get involved with. This is Hail Spirit Noir's second album, after 2012's ''Pneuma''. That was a good album too but this time with the release of ''Oi Magoi'' the band extends the limits of how far extreme and prog music can go together. At this review I won't describe the songs separately, not only because there are things beyond description, but also because HSN's vision is so specific that makes the whole album sound as a single entity.

Psychedelic black metal. Ok, we've heard this term before. Many tried it, some wrote history (Ved Buens Ende), some did very well (In the woods, Enslaved, Nachtmystium) and many made a fool out of themselves. What I really love about black metal is that it proved to be a very resilient genre when combined with others, without losing its stylistic characteristics. HSN though, make a step beyond mixing styles and this is their greatest achievement: They stand at two worlds at the same time. One foot stands on black metal, on old school, mid tempo, dirty sounding black metal, in the veins of Mayhem, Darkthrone, and Mortuary Drape, while the other foot steps steadily on 70's psych/prog rock. These two worlds are always balanced, fully unified, neither betrayed at any moment. The result sounds like the band has discovered a very deep, common root that connects two so different styles. Every time I listen to the album, this connection seems incredible. So, dear reader, please understand that we are dealing with a band that is equally black and prog.

7 songs, 7 minutes of average running time, 7 monuments of dark art. The first thing you'll notice, the moody and very underground-ish production, may annoy you a bit. Give yourself time to adjust to the fact that the sound is such on purpose and it perfectly serves the horror atmosphere and the ''jamming at the basement'' attitude that HSN delivers. No highly polished instruments here and I guess that this was thematically decided by the band. Each song feature perfectly structured changes from straightforward to psychedelic parts without ever affecting its mood. There are psych/space solos, melodic guitar lines, even krautrock and folk influences. I personally adore all the synth work of Haris which is made in the finest classic prog tradition. Even the vocals have a very satisfying range from the typical howlings to very deep and epic voices, being very theatrical ? without noticing it a first.

Three of the songs are almost like rituals: ''Satan is time'' begins like a ballad but its growing intensity can send you shivers. In ''Satyricon orgy'', well, the title says it all ? featuring the only blast beat part of the album ? while the title track ''Oi Magoi'' is so hypnotizing and dark that it almost sounds like a soundtrack of a litany. The opening ''Blood Guru'' feels like drawing the curtains of a strange, unseen world and ''The Hunter'' and ''Demon a day'' are a bit more simple and straight. The 11 minutes long ''The mermaid'' is a fantastic, mind blowing elegy which almost makes you feel like you're lost and hunted in a chaotic, monstrous ocean. Here is an experiment: listen carefully at the four first minutes of the song. Compare them with any instrumental part of the 70's prog rock masterpieces. Tell us the result of the comparison.

Lyrically, the band dives into the mythological, besides the occult. ''Satan is time'' is almost philosophical: ''We float in space and follow the pace of a clock designed by his will'' is a lyric that may refer to an aspect of the world from the satanist's point of view, while I believe that it describes perfectly the band itself and its vision. ''Oi Magoi'' (meaning The Magicians) repeat constantly only two lyrics in greek (something that is like ''the magicians bring as present death on earth, the magicians will kill the children''), until the lyrics start to sound like a hellish echo. All music interact with the lyrics in a cinematic way, supported by weird sounds, screams, breaths, gongs, percussion, whatever.

Greek black metal scene is one of the best in the world for two decades now. As this scene is concerned, I believe that ''Oi Magoi''is the best album I've heard since Rotting Christ's ''Thy mighty contract'' back from 1993. Globally, I think that Hail Spirit Noir is the most interesting active black metal band, along with Deathspell Omega. Personally, I had to feel this since ''Sham Mirrors'' of Arcturus. I'm proud that ''Oi Magoi'' is created by fellow Greeks!

It took me a lot of time to decide on my rating. For fans of avant garde black metal, this is an instant five. If you don't like extreme music, still, you have to give it at least a three for the prog part, so four would be really fair, right? For me, it's a 4,5. Still, I honestly believe that time will make this a classic of its genre and it has the potential to be a future reference next to the mighty Ved Buens Ende. This is a record with the power to make things happen. So, my inner voice says 5 stars and I'll listen to it. Congratulations Hail Spirit Noir!

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 Oi Magoi by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 47 ratings

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Oi Magoi
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Hail Spirit Noir's psychedelic black metal on Pneuma was an intriguing experiment; their tripped out psyche-prog blackened rock on Oi Magoi is the explosive result. A somewhat weightier album than Pneuma, running around 10 minutes longer, and it feels like a good judgement call on the band's part because their sound is genuinely richer and stands up to closer and more intense scrutiny here. Transcending Bizarre? is these guys' main musical port of call, but when this purported side project is turning out material of this quality, and of an originality on a level that could define a whole new subgenre of black metal, it's clear that Oi Magoi are worth keeping a close eye on.

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 Pneuma by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 25 ratings

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Pneuma
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Psychedelic black metal? You better believe it! Hail Spirit Noir's debut album finds the band combining sick, dirty black metal riffs and vocals with fat, meaty organ courtesy of Haris. The organ sound on the album in particular recalls psychedelic greats like the Doors, Procol Harum, Atomic Rooster and other greats of the psychedelic and proto-prog eras - if said pioneers had been possessed by demons and forced to jam for Satan, that is. At 36 minutes the album is short and sweet, which I think is the right call - this particular style is interesting but I'm not sure it'd hold up over an hour, whilst at this running time it's a fresh slice of innovative avant-black metal which doesn't outstay its welcome.

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 Pneuma by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 25 ratings

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Pneuma
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Pneuma" is the debut full-length studio album by Greek progressive extreme metal act Hail Spirit Noir. The album was released through code666 in March 2012. Hail Spirit Noir features three members of Greek avant garde/post-black metal act Transcending Bizarre?.

The music on the album is in quite an eclectic progressive extreme metal style, that may be somewhat rooted in black metal but travels far beyond the usual boundaries of the genre and greatly challenges the genre characteristics of that style. Warm vintage sounding keyboards/organ, progressive song structures, 70s hard rock influences, psychadelic elements, a blackened rockīnīroll touch (just listen to the main riff in "Against the Curse, We Dream" or "Haire Pneuma Skoteino") and just a general playfullness thatīs greatly charming. A band like Enslaved comes to mind, but Hail Spirit Noir has a kind of freakshow/dark carnival atmosphere present in their music that is far removed from the more serious sounding Norwegians. The vocals on "Pneuma" are, in addition to the adventurous instrumental part of the music, one of the great assets of the album. the blackened raspy harsh type vocals and the commanding powerful clean vocals are both delivered with great conviction and skill.

The album features 6 tracks distributed over a 36:57 minutes of playing time, so itīs safe to say itīs not a very long album. Iīd take quality over quantity any day though and thereīs plenty of quality here to justify the relatively short playing time. "Pneuma" is simply an enjoyable album from beginning to end (the only exception being the 4 minute ambient/noise ending to "Into the Gates of Time", which to my ears is wasting precious playing time). A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

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 Pneuma by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 25 ratings

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Pneuma
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As the years pass by, it seems like modern black metal can be distinctly broken up into two different categories. On one hand, you have countless young bands trying to re-create the magic of mid nineties' Mayhem and Darkthrone records, and on the other hand you have bands who are genuinely interested in bringing black metal to a whole new level of creativity - Hail Spirit Noir definitely belongs to the second category. If you don't believe me, just take a listen to what they've cooked up for their debut album, Pneuma. Hail Spirit Noir literally sounds like the result of a sixties' psychedelic rock group on a bad acid trip; everything from the vintage-sounding production, retro keyboard styles, and and progressive song structures brings us back to the golden age of psychedelic rock... except there's something different. Black metal-styled riffs, harsh vocals, and a twisted sense of melancholy somehow ended up in the mix, and the end result is unlike anything I've ever heard before. Although Hail Spirit Noir is anything but a 'traditional' black metal act, this debut is an essential purchase for open-minded fans of the genre.

When the term progressive black metal is brought up, the likes of Enslaved, Wolves in the Throne Room, Shining, and Deathspell Omega are usually the first bands that come to mind - many other 'progressive' black metal groups tend to sound similar to at least one of the aforementioned pioneers, but that isn't at all the case with Hail Spirit Noir. In addition to the 'bad acid trip' comparison I made earlier, Pneuma sounds like what would happen if King Crimson got together with Darkthrone for a jam session. The mellotron-soaked style of eclectic prog rock pioneered by Robert Fripp seems like a major influence to Hail Spirit Noir, and the way they manage to also sneak in black metal sections and harsh vocals without ever skipping a beat is admirable. Everything about Pneuma's production just reeks of the late sixties', and I think that's what helps bridge the band's adventurous blend of progressive rock and black metal so well. Just listen to the 12 minute masterpiece "Into the Gates of Time" to hear how much the vintage production helps make Hail Spirit Noir's sound so successful.

Pneuma is one of those albums that may be a bit difficult to grasp at first, but given the proper amount of time, it eventually reveals itself as a brilliant gem. Hail Spirit Noir have made one hell of a debut effort, and while I would've liked it to be a bit longer, this is a downright superb album. Fans of black metal, progressive rock, and experimental music in general should find plenty to enjoy here - this is one of early 2012's musical highlights for sure.

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