HAIL SPIRIT NOIR — Fossil Gardens (review)

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR — Fossil Gardens album cover Album · 2024 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR is a band that never fails to surprise you where it’s going next. These Greek avant-gardeners have consistently thrown curve balls with each and every release beginning with their psychedelically infused black metal debut “Pneuma” back in 2012. It’s only been a mere 12 years since the band made its splash on the world of experimental metal and has since released a total of six albums now that the latest FOSSIL GARDENS has emerged in the summer of 2024. Somehow i totally missed the 2021 “Mannequins” but upon exploration it seems to be one of those bonus albums for true fans that actually care about how a metal band can construct a non-metal electronic album. Personally i find these albums to be hit and miss but occasional can offer some insight into the band’s overall thought process..

A divisive band to say the least HAIL SPIRIT NOIR is either one of those bands that clicks with you or on the contrary totally rubs you the wrong way. As with most intrepid musical explorers that break all the rules and introduce strange chimeras to an established genre that many have settled on a comfort zone within, this band fearlessly steers its craft into strange musical worlds that have hitherto never been aurally integrated into the egregore of the greater black metal fanbase. Nevertheless HAIL SPIRIT NOIR sallies forth into the great unknown and delivers another slice of progressive black metal with a heavy emphasis on symphonic touches. While “Eden In Reverse” eccentrically and eclectically delved into the farthest reaches of space rock infused progressive rock that skimped a bit on the metal, FOSSIL GARDENS makes a retrograde into its roots.

On FOSSIL GARDENS the team has once again reinstated the black metal aspects and given the fans what drew them to its unusual style in the first place albeit encased in a psychedelic haze within a proggy framework. Sounding more like the weirdest experiments of Dodheimsgard than Darkthrone, the black metal returns but in a sort of musical truce kinda way. The album surprisingly starts of with clean vocals and spacey synthesizer ambience which suggests HAIL SPIRIT NOIR has totally gone Ulver on us and abandoned all notions of being a metal band but after a sensual baritone tribute to classic Dead Can Dance, HAIL SPIRIT NOIR unleashes its pent up black metal sensibilities and offers a blastbeat driven and tremolo guitar rampage complete with raspy vocal rage however the atmosphere remains thick and frigid and rather dominant but nevertheless, black metal HAIL SPIRIT NOIR has arisen like a phoenix form the ashes.

The rest of the album follows suit however the black metal isn’t as angsty as the typical second waver. This album finds the metal more in chord stomping mode for much of the time along with those jangly dissonant strumming sessions joining in for contrast’s sake. Guitar sweeps place this squarely into the melodic black metal camp with the eerie ambient backdrops never renouncing their presence for a second. Raspy tirades trade off with haunting clean vocal excursions into surreal spacey soundscapes that keeps the band firmly in the black space metal camp. This is progressive metal after all with the black metal a mere ingredient in the larger picture, a bane to black metal purists while avant-garde experimentalists will rejoice at the band’s audacity to meander through labyrinthine passages that include as much dreamy ambient pop motifs as it does adrenaline outbursts of black metal fury.

For many this one will elude them as it is by no means a conventional album. While slightly less abstract and freakishly alienating as “Eden In Reverse,” FOSSIL GARDENS nevertheless is no return to the black’n’roll bouncy grooves of “Oi Magoi” or “Mayhem In Blue” but rather delivers a veritable dip into progressive rock territory that just happens to incorporate black metal as the evil step-sister that keeps it from falling into complete ambient space rock terrain. As far removed though as FOSSIL GARDENS is from classic “normal” black metal, the contrasts make this a dynamic listening experience much like the world of Ihsahn, Enslaved or other formerly black metal dominated acts that now have successfully hybridized their caustic angst with a more pacifying structured layout that offers a true musical majesty behind all the weirdness. While i prefer the previous “Eden In Reverse,” i have to say that FOSSIL GARDENS doesn’t disappoint at all and rubs me in the right way which makes my tail wag in delight. In other words, NOT what i was expecting but in a good way!
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
RAINBOW
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Perpetual | Terminal Melodic Death Metal
DARKEST HOUR
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Gathering Progressive Metal
FELIX MARTIN
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Void Industrial Metal
PROJECT SILENCE
Buy this album from MMA partners
God is Violence Cybergrind
CANCER CHRIST
Buy this album from MMA partners
Reaperdawn Black Metal
IN APHELION
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us