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Hail Spirit Noir - Eden in Reverse CD (album) cover


Hail Spirit Noir


Experimental/Post Metal

3.98 | 52 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars There have been a slew of bands in the 2010s that have given legitimacy to a new style that has become known as psychedelic metal that exists outside of the usual doom and stoner realms that have been fusing heavy psych and the more bombastic chord heft of Black Sabbath. Bands like Finland's Oranssi Pazuzu and Greece's HAIL SPIRIT NOIR have perhaps been the most clever in how they have straddled the disparate worlds of progressive rock, black metal and psychedelic rock. HAIL SPIRIT NOIR is a trio from the northern city of Thessaloniki that threw both the prog and metal worlds a curve ball with its 2012 debut "Pneuma" which featured a fresh new twisted take on the fusional possibilities of black metal, prog and heavy psych.

In the beginning the band's focus was heavy on the metal side of the equation but as each subsequent album that followed: "Oi Magoi" and "Mayhem In Blue," it became clear that this was a band that could maintain the exact same recipe of ingredients but created a completely new album simply by changing the ratio of the musical elements on board. Celebrating a decade of existence, HAIL SPIRIT NOIR returns four years after its last release with its fourth album EDEN IN REVERSE which sheds much of the black metal of the previous output and shifts into a psychedelic swirling vortex of heavy prog laced with keyboard rich gymnastics that add the most spectacular spaced out trips into the unpredictable band's antics that finds more influences from synth bands like Kraftwerk rather than Darkthrone.

The album which sounds like a retrofuturisitc jump into the soundtrack of "The Twilight Zone" indeed brings much retro charm to its near 43 minute run with trippy oscillating Moog synthesizers bringing a time bending wobble effect to the majority of the album's run. Gone are the raspy black metal vocals and the new clean vocals display a mood of nonchalance as if the space portal jumping experience is just too exhausting to get excited about however a blood curdling scream or two pierces the veil every now and again. In many ways EDEN IN REVERSES reminds me of a much more psychedelic version of post-black metal Ulver than anything from HAIL SPIRIT NOIR's prior repertoire. This album hosts seven exquisitely designed tunes that find the perfect balance between electro-robotic detachment and heavy prog guitar heft. At times reminding of 70s Pink Floyd (especially in the vocals) and at others like a darker version of Japan's Ghost that discovered the joys of heavy metal.

The album flows incredibly well as do all HAIL SPIRIT NOIR albums with seamless melodies blending with polyrhythmic complexities made all the more engaging by the barrage of synthesized spaciness which make you wonder if Jean-Michel Jarre is involved somewhere behind the scenes. The band states that this album takes the music out of the retro hybridization of the 60s / 70s and pushes it forward to the 70s / 80s era which eschewed the overuse of the black metal bombast and instead sailed off to planet Lysergia for a more mind-bending psychedelic experience. The results are something familiar yet so far away from where the band has visited in the past. Despite the retro drenched motifs, EDEN IN REVERSE is clearly a product of the here and now with a crystal clear production job and ample doses of extreme metal riffing albeit it set back a bit to emphasize the synth attacks.

Despite the clear detour from the metal universe, the energetic bombast still exists well within the confines of the head banging domain that HAIL SPIRIT NOIR has always occupied. The album was produced and mixed by Dimitris Douvras (Rotting Christ) and mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Aborted, Whitechapel). Add to that a cameo vocal appearance from Borknagar's Lars Nedland appears on the track "Crossroads." Despite HAIL SPIRIT NOIR's dedication to experimentation that insures that each and every album released carries a distinct personality apart from what came before, the true success of this trio is in crafting instantly catchy compositions that favor melody over avant-garde weirdness and only after an accessible foundation has been laid can all the tricks and trinkets find their way into the mix. What can i say? HAIL SPIRIT NOIR never fails to disappoint and 2020's EDEN IN REVERSE despite a totally new direction is hardly an exception to that. Excellent!

4.5 rounded up why not

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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