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.


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



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



(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



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.


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.


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 »

Feb 262014

(Guest writer, deluded NY Giants fan, and hard man to please KevinP rejoins us with the first installment of what may become a series.)

 2013 was a high water mark for metal releases. Seemingly it would be hard for 2014 to match up. But we are already off to a damn good start. Here’s a few things that have ‘wet my whistle’ so far.


After carving out their own identity as more than just a “Sweden meets Autopsy” via their A Saunter in the Shroud EP, I was pretty excited for their follow-up sophomore full-length. Much to my surprise, they’ve taken a left turn and kinda gone the route that Tribulation did with The Formulas of Death. A brave move by a young band that’s willing to take chances, stick its neck out, and not just be “another old school death metal band”.

Sweven is out now in Europe and will be released in North America on March 4 by Century Media. Continue reading »

Feb 082014

As you may have noticed, we were pretty light on the content yesterday. I even failed to get another installment of our 2013 Most Infectious Song list up on the site. I blame my fucking day job, which has taken me on the road again, with about 36 hours still to go before I can get back to Seattle. I did do some catching up early this morning, and have prepared this round-up of new and notable things, plus that delayed installment for the song list.

I’ve paired these two bands together on purpose, because musically they seem like kindred spirits. Perhaps you’ll soon understand why I think that.


Last September I wrote about a forthcoming album by a Norwegian band named Sarke (who will also be playing at Maryland Deathfest this May). All I knew at the time was who was in the band, but that was enough to inspire intrigue about the music:

SARKE (Khold, Tulus), bass.
NOCTURNO CULTO (Darkthrone, Gift of Gods), vocals.
ASGEIR MICKELSON (Spiral Architect, God Of Atheists), drums.
ANDERS HUNSTAD (El Caco, Autopulver, Morten Abel), keyboard.
STEINAR GUNDERSEN (Satyricon, Spiral Architect, System: Obscure), guitar. Continue reading »

Dec 282013

Between the time I’ve spent with family and friends over the holidays and pushing out the biggest year-end LISTMANIA series our site has ever published, I’ve been constricted in my ability to listen to new songs and forthcoming releases. But I keep lists. I keep lists like a hoarder of names. Never mind that actually making it through the lists is a frail hope, given that they keep growing, and growing, and growing…

But yesterday, I made a small dent in them and came away with four songs I’m really high on. Two of them are new tracks by bands whose past work I’ve admired, and two of them come from bands who I’d never heard before. Musically, the four songs have very little in common, other than the fact that they are all winners — and they all have darkness in their souls.


Hail Spirit Noir’s first album, Pneuma (reviewed here), was unlike anything else I heard in 2012. It was exceedingly strange and yet brilliant, a splicing together of black metal, 60′s flower-power pop psychedelics, 70′s prog rock, 80′s New Wave dance beats, melodic doom, and even cool jazz. Each song was distinctively different from, though related to, the others, like cousins on a gnarled family tree. Continue reading »