We are very fortune to be the bearer of wonderful gifts from Greece today — specifically, a stream of all six songs gathered together on the new album Mayhem In Blue by Hail Spirit Noir.
The band’s first two albums, Pneuma and Oi Magoi, were so good and so distinctive that it’s fair to say fan expectations for the new album are high — and they’re not going to be disappointed, because Mayhem In Blue is the band’s best work yet.
Making your way through the album is akin to touring a carnival of horrors, with freakish wonders behind every curtain and visions lurking in the shadows that may or may not be real. Did they inject you with some psychoactive substance when you paid your admission price? It begins to seem that way very quickly, and the suspicion only grows stronger as you wind your way from song to song.
The infernally creative music of Hail Spirit Noir has always been very hard to pin down. In attempting to describe their strange hybrid of music you could fumble around with combinations of words that include “black metal”, “psychedelic”, “progressive”, “occult”, and “retro-rock” in an attempt to describe the sonic potions they have brewed, but an all-encompassing description remains elusive. There is a dark animating spirit and an ingenious intelligence behind the songs, but no two of them sound quite alike.
The music on Mayhem In Blue is wonderfully and weirdly varied, richly layered with equally weird and wonderful sounds and unpredictable moods. Depending on where you are, it can be disorienting and disconcerting, savage and psychotic, or soulful and sublime. It rampages and it rocks, it bounces and cavorts like a mad man. It makes you want to bang your head, and dance like a dervish. It can lure you into a trance state, and sometimes it makes you want to find a secure hiding place because it sounds like something truly frightful is coming for you.
As HSN guitarist Theo Lyratzakis explained in his NCS interview with KevinP, there is perhaps more focus in the songwriting this time around. There is certainly an even greater richness in the details of the sound and in the variety of the vocals, and as the band has stated, it includes some of HSN‘s most aggressive music to date — as well as some of the most hallucinatory. And there are surprises galore around every corner. It’s one of the most unusual and unusually captivating albums you’ll find this year.
Mayhem In Blue was mixed by Dimitris Douvras (Rotting Christ) and mastered by Alan Douches(Chelsea Wolfe, Motörhead). The album art was created by Olia Pishchanska. It will be released by Dark Essence Records on October 28. The track list is below, followed by our premiere of a full-album stream. To pre-order the album, go HERE.
1. I Mean You Harm
2. Mayhem in Blue
3. Riders to Utopia
4. Lost in Satan’s Charms
5. The Cannibal Tribe Came from the Sea
6. How to Fly in Blackness
I liked the band’s previous albums, and I’m finding things to like here, too–the title track is lovely–but your “carnival” description is apt. The demented merry-go-round-music feel in some of the other tracks (I’m on #4 now) is driving me up the wall. Whaddya think: is this a grower, or is it going to drive me mad (in a bad way)?
Well, it’s possible that I’m already mad (in a bad way) because this grew on me after only one listen. But I will say that my appreciation for it grew steadily the more I listened. There’s a lot of mad ingenuity to be discovered, and at least in my case it got under my skin more and more deeply. So it may grow on you (and drive you mad).
This is a great album, it’s the one i’ve liked the most of what they’ve done. “Riders to Utopia” is one of the best songs i’ve heard this year.