Starting out a decade ago, the Greek avantgardist collective known as Hail Spirit Noir had found its own niche in an bizarre marriage of black metal with sixties/seventies styled psychedelic rock in the vein of Camel, Focus or even The Doors. On their debut ‘Pneuma’ the balance between psyche and black was about even, but from their sophomore ‘Oi Magoi’ onwards, the black metal aspect was dialed down in favour of a more electronic approach that started to borrow heavily from krautrock.
For their tenth year anniversary, they have gone even further down this electronic path. On the new album there is no metal to be found, there isn’t even a single guitar on there. ‘Mannequins’ is pure , unadulterated synthwave, very reminiscent of the likes of Perturbator and Carpenter Brut. In fact it sounds so classically synthwave, that many a synth aficionado might like this one more than the rather divisive latest album from Perturbator.
This stylistic move also makes it their most accessible record to date. Their unusual mishmash of proggy tunes and dissonant black made for a much more challenging listen to all but the most ardent avantgardists. By comparison these tunes are easy listening.
From the fantastically on brand artwork to the songs themselves you are on a wonderful ride back to the synth driven film scores of eighties flicks. The aforementioned contemporary forerunners of the genre are a first obvious part of reference, but I can for instance hear a lot of the pioneering French synth magician Jean-Michel Jarre in there, along with a bunch of other synthpop tropes you’re bound to recognize . You can hear just how much fun they’ve had with this little anniversary record. For the most part it is a purely instrumental affair, the catchy ‘Enter Disco Inferno’ or the title track being a rare exception to this.
By their own accord, this is just a one off experiment in celebration of their jubilee, but personally I would not mind at all if they chose to stay on this path. Considering their gradual move towards electronics, it doesn’t even sound that far off their naturally projected path of progression, just a lot more fun and accessible.
Release Date: September 10 2021
Label: Agonia Records
1. 12-31-1985 Night Shift
2. Against Your Will, My Blade
4. 12-31-1985 Night Shift II
5. The Monsters Came From the Sky
6. Visitors of Horror
7. Enter Disco Inferno
8. Mannequins II
9. Alien Cell Charging
10. On the Loose Again
11. Ending Crashers
12. Ending Crashers II