The dynamic trio from Greece is back once again, two years after their last release “Pneuma”, ready to immerse us in the world they have created. HAIL SPIRIT NOIR, a remarkable band in the progressive black metal scene, are here to prove that they deserve their place.
Since the beginning of the album, it becomes apparent what the word “progressive” means for HAIL SPIRIT NOIR. Ambient melodies, electronic and atmospheric sounds are the key element of the whole album. A distinctive carnival organ producing some of the catchiest melodies, especially in the third song of the album, “Riders to Utopia“. A harp-like organ in combination with some ethereal strings, creating an off-world bridge during the “Mayhem in Blue”. Although, the band decided not to stay focused on the traditional and easy to use sound elements, but they dared to take it a step further, using a barrel organ in the intro and outro of “Lost in Satan’s Charms”, making the song more carefree than the dark and misty part that follows.
Concerning the guitar riffs, they are scattered across the six tracks but they have been a little bit neglected in this album. However “Lost in Satan’s Charms“ is excluded from this pattern. All the amazing riffs are gathered in this song, from the beginning until the end. Black metal riffs accompanied with blast beats, ambient solos and beautiful melodies. Guitar riffs can be found in almost every song of the album, although their presence is not that clear as much more emphasis is given on the progressive sounds. “Lost in Satan’s Charms” is a redemption for the neglected guitar parts.
“A unique and memorable set of sounds, experimented as never before.”
Considering this is a black metal album, drums and bass have also a major role in the whole process. Bass melodies accompany almost every riff in a steady, yet formidable way. The drums with their powerful blastbeats and confusing rhythms tie the songs together, transiting from the progressive to the black metal parts fluently. Unfortunately the band is not giving much attention to the black metal elements. Even though the blastbeats and the fast guitar riffs are used correctly, they are way softer than the traditional black metal.
The album consists of six tracks, but don’t let that fool you, as it is forty minutes long, with three out of six songs being over 6 minutes. Impressively, the band managed to keep our excitement alive throughout the end and not a single was dragging, not even the ten-minute “Lost in Satan’s Charms”. From the aspect of lyrics, the band decides to use a dark and pretty black-like theme, as they did in their past albums. Although, as many mentioned, the bands intentions are probably more than just create black pictures, but the lyrics seem to have a more deep and arousing meaning behind them.
Overall, “Mayhem in Blue” was a great album, especially for the progressive black metal fans out there. A mixture of clean and classic black vocals, blastbeats and harsh guitar riffs, electronics elements and the album’s characteristic carnival organ make the listeners hope on board and experience something completely out of this world. The band composed a unique and memorable set of sounds, experimented as never before. Unfortunately all this experimenting reduced significantly the guitar presence and gave a more progressive, than black, metal result.