Review : HAIL SPIRIT NOIR – Eden in Reverse
Band photo credits : Crux (Vaggelis Neofotistos)
Hello everyone, you don’t know me yet, I’m Skull Team’s new blood. Call me Hakim. I’m French, and I just love blast beats. In an attempt to give a more international dimension to Skull News, I will write solely in English (I don’t know German in any case). For my first contribution to this website, I would like to tackle Hail Spirit Noir‘s new album, Eden in Reverse.
Hail Spirit Noir is this weird band from Greece that I’ve been following since the release of their previous album, Mayhem in Blue, which was released in 2016. Combining a blend of progressive black metal with psychedelic rock elements, this band had obviously something interesting to offer. On their new album, Eden in Reverse, released on June 19th through Agonia Records, the band sees their black metal tuned down and their psychedelia amped up. Find below the tracklist and artwork of the album, created by StuZ0r (Stuart Lippincott). But before starting to read this, feel free to listen to an extract of the album:
1. Darwinian Beasts
2. Incense Swirls
3. Alien Lip Reading
4. Crossroads (featuring Lars Nedland from Borknagar/Solefald)
5. The Devil’s Blind Spot
6. The First Ape on New Earth
7. Automata 1980
Prior to this release, in 2018, the band had added to its studio lineup three musicians that were part of their live performances: Foivos Chatzis on drums, Sakis Bandis on keyboards and Cons Marg (Konstantinos Margaritis) on vocals. On Mayhem in Blue, clean vocals and drums were handled by session musicians. The addition of core members has certainly contributed to the evolution towards which this fourth album goes. The drumming actually feels similar to that of the previous album. However, in regards to clean vocals, while Konstantinos has a style that fits the music well and that is not particularly dissimilar to the voice of Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos (who had sung additional vocals on every prior release), he has his own voice, which the listener will clearly distinguish from what he/she may have heard from the band before. It’s nothing a fan won’t get used to, though, and believe me, the vocals on this album are great.
Sakis serves as second keyboardist as founding member Haris already worked on this instruments in previous albums. Considering the band has gone here towards something largely more progressive/psychedelic rock-influenced, having two keyboardists allows to have more layers to synth sounds as ever before, which shows well on literally every track. But if one track had to display everything their keyboards have to offer, I guess you should listen to the closing epic of the album, “Automata 1980”.
As I have said in the introduction, the black metal of the band has been stripped down to only a few remaining elements. But that is not a bad thing, even though I love this genre. There are no screamed vocals on the album, except a piercing screech at the end of the third track, “Alien Lip Reading”. On “Crossroads” and “The First Ape on New Earth” (which is the most aggressive song of the album), you can hear on certain sections fast rhythms, typical of black metal, though. A few blast beats come and go, with fast tremolo picking on the guitars. But other than these small snippets of extreme metal, the album is emphasizing the band’s other assets in 70’s and 80’s psychedelic stuff.
What can you expect thematically? As the title implies, it is about the story of Eden. The garden in which Adam and Eve were created, and hence humanity was born. However, what about “in Reverse”? The idea is to create another take on creation, while keeping this idea of Eden. Yet, the band chose to go against the religious belief associated with this episode of the Genesis and to tell this story through evolutionary and modern aspects. The first track, “Darwinian Beasts”, sets the tone, by adding right from the beginning Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. The third track “Alien Lip Reading”, takes you to space, as it is what one can believe to be the next step of evolution. By the way, “Automata 1980” kicks off with sounds that are very reminiscent of what we imagine coming from science-fiction and space movies.
That part of evolution, or post-humanity, as it is something we are only beginning to discover in 2020, asks for something surreal. I assume that’s where the synths come in. Their melodies and the several layers which compose the sound, seems to tell of something unexpected and unknown. I would not say alien because there is often a sense of fear associated with that word. There may be some fear into it but that is balanced with a curiosity for the path that humanity is going to take. Those old synth sounds combined with an expression of the future remind me of futuristic fiction, as seen through a more modern perspective, yet with that constant touch of old which makes you wonder in which era you’re living in. A mix of past and future, so to say. The story of creation here may start actually at the present time, and it imagines the future which is created through science and technological as well as social evolution.
To conclude, I’m not going to put a mark on this album as one may see often on Internet reviews. I just personally don’t like that, there is no way to give a mark like that to a piece of art, as our appreciation of it will be partly subjective. Let me continue to assert, though, that Eden in Reverse is amazing and should fit in any fan of the band’s collection.
If you are new to the band, then this is something that will be appealing both to fans of progressive extreme metal and prog/psych fans in general. If it’s your first time listening to the band, feel free, if you like it, to check their previous albums as well, Pneuma, Oi Magoi, and Mayhem in Blue. They offer an interesting and rewarding journey. Hail Spirit Noir clearly stand out in the metal scene, because with every release they offer something fresh, and even if they use elements from well-established genres, they always manage to create combinations that are never heard of. It is not that often today that a band’s sound feels this much unique. Now we’re hoping for tours, from an excellent band that does not play live that often.
Hail Spirit Noir is:
J. Demian – Bass, Guitars, Acoustic Guitars
Theoharis – Guitars, Vocals
Haris – Keyboards
Foivos – Drums
Sakis Bandis – Keyboards
Cons Marg – Vocals
So, thus ends my first text written for Skull News. I hope you enjoyed it, and stay tuned for more stuff coming from my pen in the coming days! Next will be a brief (or maybe not) presentation of myself.