HAIL SPIRIT NOIR — Oi Magoi (review)

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR — Oi Magoi album cover Album · 2014 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
bartosso
Hellenic wizardry #2

Unlike death metal, black metal has embraced the "post" prefix with open arms as if it were kindling, spawning sub-genres like a freaking rabbit since the late nineties. If black metal were an element, it would be cesium, the most reactive of them all. Successfully combined with post-rock, shoegaze, jazz, electronic, folk and Satan only knows what else, black metal is it when it comes to crossovers. It's all the more admirable when a new act comes around and brings something fresh to the table without the word "post" ever being brought up. And while Hail Spirit Noir do indeed draw from non-metal genres like psychedelic, classic and progressive rock of the 70s, they've managed to carve out a niche of their own.

My very first thought upon my introductory listen to Oi Magoi was "that's what Opeth should have done with their sound". Hail Spirit Noir walk a thin line between the past and the present without ever sounding outright experimental or derivative. That's in part due to the magic of black metal: it helps put stylistic elements out of their context. Black metal is loosely interpreted here, though, and deliberately stripped of its usual ferocity. Oi Magoi is playful and menacing when it needs to be, wrapping its black'n'psy formula in a wicked atmosphere of the 70s dark cabaret and the occult. If you've ever read a horror story by Neil Gaiman, that would be a perfect soundtrack to it. The band provides each song with a catchy main theme but lets each of the in-between sections breathe. Full of left hooks and adventurous trips, Oi Magoi never slips down into pointless experimentation, though. That's how you make things engaging without the usual bloated prog extravaganza. Paradoxically, each seemingly disparate element, from the pleasantly textured clean vocals, raspy growls to carefully chosen synths, contributes to Oi Magoi's consistency.

Slightly longer, punchier and more daring than Pneuma, Oi Magoi founds its glory upon an already excellent concept. Rich in flavors both old and new, Hail Spirit Noir shows a well-founded confidence in their trademark blackened/psychedelic rock sound. What I love most about it, though, is its unwavering devotion to good fun - the album simply oozes cool and it's a hell of a ride each and every time I give it a spin.
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bartosso wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thank you, Adam! :)
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great review Bartosz, a spot on write-up.

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