Review Summary: Welcome to Hail Spirit Noir's retro-futuristic Eden.
Greek Hail Spirit Noir managed to build an interesting repertoire over the past decade. Departing from an early signature that blended black metal and progressive rock (reminiscent of the late sixties, early seventies) the band progressively began adding more contemporary elements into their music. If we compare Mayhem In Blue
with the blackened baroque debut Pneuma
we can clearly perceive that Hail Spirit Noir has been evolving its formula into something more straightforward and up-to-date. This is not surprising as it is a common path for most artists. People tend to perceive the more complex, intricate beginnings as artistic pinnacles, and I understand that. However, as far as I'm concerned, I like to keep things apart and distinguish the different scenarios. Sometimes those beginnings are in fact unique displays of creativity that only occur within a very restricted and precocious time frame, such as The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
or Script for a Jester's Tear
, for instance. But at other times, they're mere youthful artistic orgasms that should be properly contextualized and assessed after some time lag. It is up to each one of us to measure each band's journey to understand in which periods their artistic response was most relevant. I would argue that if we abstractly compare Hail Spirit Noir’s debut with The Yes Album
, Eden In Reverse
would be the artistic equivalent to Drama
. Which immediately places the band's aesthetic in 2020 somewhere between the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is within this temporal period that Eden In Reverse
Eden In Reverse
is the story of Eden rewritten through a surrealistic Darwinian lens. This anti-creationist approach is immediately expressed through the opener 'Darwinian Beasts', which not only delivers the album's conceptual motto but also targets its aesthetic towards the late seventies, as I mentioned earlier. After this first contact, we clearly understand Eden In Reverse
will take a more Krautrock-esque electronic approach than its predecessors. The instrumental 'The Devil's Blind Spot' is another example that exalts this more electronic chromatics. The band definitely abandoned the baroque knots of their early work in order to dive into more spacey and minimalist waters. The album closer 'Automata 1980' is the glorious peak of this artistic renewal. Its Krautrock-esque crescendo swings between schizophrenic dialectics until it progressively collides with the album's strongest and most mesmerizing musical piece. These ten minutes are among the best moments the band has ever recorded, being the album's artistic highlight.
Hail Spirit Noir's black metal legacy appears timidly, as in the early stages of 'Incense Swirls' or in 'Alien Lip Reading’s' blackened scream, which curiously is the album's only grunt out. 'The First Ape on New Earth' also features some blackened textures embedded in its contrasting structure, which moves through powerful segments, harmonious vocals and splendorous guitar leads. I also cannot fail to mention the larger than life momentum in 'Incense Swirls' which reminds us of a supernova cascade that flows into an intense Oranssi Pazuzu-esque psychedelic event. This song alongside 'The Devil's Blind Spot' and 'Automata 1980' will surely delight open-minded listeners who enjoy inner sensory journeys. Interestingly, the Borknagar-esque single 'Crossroads' (which features Lazare as guest vocalist), although interesting, is the song that most differs from the ensemble due to its more mainstream and accessible angle. I would say this song was deliberately designed for Lazare, with the intention of being the musical piece furthest from the album's orbit. Although not among my favorites, 'Crossroads' is one of the album's benchmarks and will surely be part of the band's setlist in future live performances. Musically, the trio Theo Liratzakis, J. Demian and Haris remain as cohesive as ever, now with a greater focus on synthesizers and harmonic vocals. The new line-up additions Sakis Bandis (synths), Cons Marg (vocals) and Foivos Chatzis (drums) have not only brought enhanced quality but also proved to be key parts of Eden In Reverse's cohesive output. It will definitely be interesting to witness the symbiosis of this renewed line-up in the band's upcoming shows.
In Eden In Reverse
Hail Spirit Noir unveil a new electronic aesthetic that not only catapults them into new retro-futuristic territories but also simultaneously guarantees them a successful artistic renewal.
Welcome to Hail Spirit Noir's retro-futuristic Eden.