Jun 162020
 

 

We are all well aware of beloved metal bands whose creative interests and impulses have led them to places very different from where they began. Sometimes, comparing starting and ending points can become jarring juxtapositions, even if directional signposts were evident along the way (at least for those who were paying attention). In other instances, change is more abrupt, perhaps the result of line-up revisions or of blatant commercial calculation.

Regardless of the explanation, change is risky, even when the results are superlative — and catastrophic when the outcomes are deplorable. But change is also the spice of life. It is also, in fact, the inherent underpinning of life. Without it, all of us would still be single-cell organisms swimming in salt seas. Because of it, we may someday swim among the stars.

Which brings us to Eden In Reverse, the brilliant new album by Hail Spirit Noir, and perhaps even an explanation of what the foregoing paragraphs have to do with the album. Continue reading »

Jun 152020
 

 

It took something special for our old pal KevinP to climb out of his cozy Florida confines and return to NCS, and in this case the motivation came from the impending release of a new album by the distinctive Greek band Hail Spirit Noir.

That album, Eden In Reverse, which is set for release by Agonia Records on Friday of this week (June 19th), reveals new directions in the band’s ever-evolving creativity, and Kevin explored them in this congenial interview of Haris (keyboards) and Theoharis (guitars), proceeding with questions on a track-by-track basis. Insights are revealed, wacky references are made, and we’ve included some music streams as well. Our own review of the album will follow soon. Continue reading »

Apr 212020
 

 

We have a lot of things planned for today at our site, including an album review, a couple of premieres, and a gigantic round-up of new music, but I’m getting a slow start on readying any of those posts for publication. But then I saw that Hail Spirit Noir had revealed the first excerpt from their new album, and that solved the problem of how to begin the day without further delay.

We don’t usually feature only one new song in a post unless it’s a premiere, but our affection for this Greek band runs deep, as does curiosity about what this new album will sound like, given the fascinating shifts in style that have already occurred over the course of Pneuma (2012), Oi Magoi (2014), and Mayhem In Blue (2016). Of course, as the band’s first three albums have already proven, one song drawn in isolation from the rest of an HSN release doesn’t completely represent what the rest of the record will sound like, because the band have an adventurous streak in them.

But beyond what can be gleaned from the new song that debuted today (“The First Ape On New Earth“), we do have this accompanying statement by the band about the album, the title of which is Eden In Reverse: Continue reading »

Jan 062017
 

 

As you can see, this is the fifth installment in our unfolding list of last year’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs“. As you can also see (or will soon discover), not all of the songs in this installment are extreme, or even metal, and there’s a lot of clean singing as well. Feel free to harumph and harang in the Comments, but I could not get comfortable with the idea of looking back at the most infectious songs of last year without including all of these, and I also found a pleasing kind of twisted symmetry in combining them in a single post.

To see the other selections for the list so far, as well as an explanation of what criteria were used in making it, go here.

GHOST

From my perspective, it’s not worth debating whether Ghost are a metal band or not. There are good arguments to be made on both sides. What I think is beyond debate is the band’s ability to craft immensely catchy songs, and not the kind of cotton candy fluff that makes you sick to your stomach after the fifth or sixth time you’ve heard it, which seems to be true of a high percentage of catchy pop songs. Also, they continue to praise the Devil, and I give them horns up for that. Whether the praise is calculated or sincere is a subject we can debate on another day, or not at all. Continue reading »

Oct 262016
 

hail-spirit-noir-mayhem-in-blue

 

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. Continue reading »

Oct 172016
 

hail-spirit-noir-2016

 

(In this new edition of KevinP’s short interview series, he talks with guitarist Theo Lyratzakis of the Greek band Hail Spirit Noir, whose new album Mayhem In Blue will be released by Dark Essence Records on October 28.)

K:   I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people are gonna view this album as easily the best of your career. As much as I loved both prior releases, compared to this new one, dare I say they sound “half-baked”, almost “disjointed”.

T:  Ha!  Well, that’s always good to hear!  Thank you kindly.  Knowing you are a fan, it means a lot.  We obviously wanted Mayhem In Blue to be our best album to date.  It’s the difficult third album and a lot of work has been put into it.  Not that either Pneuma or Oi Magoi disappointed us in any way but this is where we are now.  And we need to express ourselves as keenly and accurately as possible.  So you know, thanks. Continue reading »

Oct 042016
 

hail-spirit-noir-mayhem-in-blue

 

The infernally creative music of Hail Spirit Noir is very hard to pin down, which is a part of the band’s multifarious charms. Anyone who has delved into the wonders of their first two albums, Pneuma and Oi Magoi, are well aware that HSN march (and scamper) to the beat of their own drummer. You might fumble around with combinations of words that include “black metal”, “psychedelic”, “progressive”, “occult”, and “retro” 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.

And so, apart from the impressive and distinctive quality of those first two albums, one big reason to be eager for their new album Mayhem In Blue is the excitement of an unpredictable new discovery. We’re very happy to pull back the curtain on the new album — albeit only far enough to provide a tantalizing glimpse — by providing the premiere of its first single, a song called “I Mean You Harm“.

It’s not a very friendly song title, and the music doesn’t greet you with a warm embrace either. It includes some of the distinctive, recognizable elements of Hail Spirit Noir’s previous releases, but it’s also more aggressive and malicious than what you may be expecting. But of course, confounding expectations is obviously a big part of the fun that Hail Spirit Noir find in making music. Continue reading »

Jun 072016
 

Hail Spirit Noir-Mayhem In Blue

 

For almost two weeks I’ve been in the throes of Maryland Deathfest frenzy, taking time away from many of my typical blogging activities to attend the festival itself and then re-living the experience through a five-part recap all of last week. I missed a lot of new music, and of course when you check out for that long in today’s riotously fecund metal environment there’s no way to completely catch up. However, I have spent some hours making incomplete lists of what I missed and then listening… and from that I have some songs I want to recommend.

Many of the new songs I want to write about are connected in various ways to black metal, and I’ve collected some of them here, along with one recent piece of very enticing news. There will be at least one more installment in this blackened catch-up collection, and maybe two if time allows.

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR

I think of Hail Spirit Noir as sonic alchemists, highly adept at combining different stylistic ingredients and transmuting them into strange and wondrous sounds. They’ve proven those alchemical talents through two albums so far — Pneuma in 2012 and Oi Magoi in 2014 — and last month they announced that a third one is on the way. Continue reading »

Jan 172015
 

We have arrived at Part 21 in the continuing rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

The two songs I’m adding today aren’t as loud and extreme as the majority of what’s on the list. They’re also exceptions to the rule embodied in the site’s name. But they’re both very good, very infectious songs — and they have some other things in common, too. Prepare for some satanic rock.

THE HOUSE OF CAPRICORN

Morning Star Rise marked a conscious change in sound for New Zealand’s The House of Capricorn, a change exemplified by the song I’m adding to the list today. Relatively speaking “Ivory Crown” is one of the more subdued tracks on the album — if you’re looking for tracks that drive harder on the mayhem end of the spectrum, then I’d recommend “The Road To Hell Is Marked” or “Our Shrouded King”. But “Ivory Crown” is built around such killer melodic hooks that it’s powerfully addictive. Continue reading »

Mar 042014
 

(NCS contributor KevinP somehow convinced Theoharis (above, middle), the guitarist and vocalist of one of my favorite bands, Hail Spirit Noir, to talk to him. Maybe all he had to do was ask? Having read the interview, I’d like to request a round of applause for both of them.)

K:  You, Dim, and Haris are all in Transcending Bizarre?, whose last album was in 2010.  You formed Hail Spirit Noir in 2010 as well.  Is the timing of this a coincidence?

T:  Haris actually had the idea for some time before 2010. What happened was that one of TB?’s members and a really good friend of ours, S.A Akis, died right in the middle of the recordings of the third record.  We completed the record but the whole thing just took a lot out of us. Once we were done with that, Haris presented to Dim and me demos for what would become Pneuma and the whole thing got started.  So, I don’t know if that counts as coincidence.

 

K:  Transcending Bizarre? is not standard black metal, but I wouldn’t call it “off the wall” by any means.  Hail Spirit Noir is a much further ‘left turn’ compared to what you were doing.  What made you come up with this unique hybrid sound?

T:  Haris wanted to pay tribute to all the prog rock he was listening to and the atmosphere of the 70s horror movies.   But with a more sinister twist and a sound, that despite its roots, being in that era would sound up to date.  In simple terms the original combination was late 60s/70s prog rock+ black metal+ horror movies.  But it all ended up with our combined influences a lot weirder. Continue reading »