Hail Spirit Noir - Eden In Reverse review




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Reviewer:
9.0

129 users:
8.17
Band: Hail Spirit Noir
Album: Eden In Reverse
Release date: June 2020


01. Darwinian Beasts
02. Incense Swirls
03. Alien Lip Reading
04. Crossroads
05. The Devil's Blind Spot
06. The First Ape On New Earth
07. Automata 1980
08. Incense Swirls (Synthwave Remix) [Digipak CD bonus]
09. Ever-Shifting Tunnels [Digipak CD bonus]


If I had to choose one single band that in my opinion left a mark on metal in the '10s, it would be Hail Spirit Noir. I am so glad that it looks like they will be leaving an equally significant mark during the '20s as well.

Hail Spirit Noir's progressive, blackened, experimental, and psychedelic take on metal music has been a breath of originality and fresh air. To describe Eden In Reverse, I will have to remove 'blackened' from the equation, since there are very few instances where glimpses of black metal can be traced, like in the blastbeats of "The First Ape On New Earth" or in the harsh vocals of the excellent bonus track, "Ever-Shifting Tunnels". This album feels as if Hail Spirit Noir borrowed David Bowie's space journeys, Kraftwerk's synths and Camel's progressive melodies, and decided to cover Pink Floyd songs. It looks excellent on paper, don't you think? Let's see how it actually sounds.

The band is now a sextet, since the core trio have added their three live musicians as permanent members. They now have two vocalists and two synths players and this is very obvious when listening to the record, since it is dominated by gorgeous (clean) vocal and synth harmonies. While Hail Spirit Noir's previous albums could work as the soundtrack of '70s Italian horror films, Eden In Reverse sounds like the perfect score for Stranger Things or for a John Carpenter film. The familiarly psychedelic and trippy element of their music is very much present and passages similar to ones used before can be heard so it's not that the band is unrecognizable on this album, but they do dive deep into a retro-futuristic sea of late '70s and early '80s sounds in a way that they've never done before.

It took me a while to get into this. My initial reaction after the first listen was that Hail Spirit Noir ditched a very original approach in favour of something much more mainstream and accessible. I felt it was lacking fire and energy. The drum patterns felt somewhat similar, the synths too prevailing and overwhelming, and the carnivalesque and blackened psychedelia of the previous releases was almost nowhere to be found. The songs themselves felt too samey in the beginning. But I had to give it another try. And then another. And another. And in the end I reached the point where everything fell into place and I just couldn't get enough of it. I started realizing why the band said that this was the album that they had spent the most time on. The 'flaws' I mentioned are there on purpose and they make for a super-classy and progressive, intergalactic sonic trip.

Eden In Reverse needs to be listened as a whole. It features two intro tracks, one for side A of the vinyl ("Darwinian Beasts") and one for side B ("The Devil's Blind Spot"). The centrepiece of the album ("Crossroads") is the one that sounds less like Hail Spirit Noir and more like Borknagar, largely due to Lars Nedland's guest vocals. The record feels as though it keeps on powering up the engine and it literally takes off with "The First Ape On New Earth", one of the band's best songs ever. "Automata 1980" gives a whole new meaning to the word 'closer'; the spacey synths dissonance in the beginning can be ear-hurting and the introduction is really long, but what follows is very rewarding and poses as an endless loop depicting the end (of the record? of the cosmos?).

Eden In Reverse is not as dark, malevolent and avant-garde as the albums before it. Hell, at times it is barely even metal. It is calmer and more digestible but at the same time bigger and brighter (not better) than any previous Hail Spirit Noir release and it is an invitation to get lost into the ever-shifting maze of the band's sci-fi dream. Looking at all the white light bulbs flashing in the rhythm of the music very much feels like staring at the universe and realizing how close to the stars this album takes you.

I don't know what the future of Hail Spirit Noir will be. They may go all Ulver on us by ditching metal completely and follow the path of the bonus synthwave version of "Incense Swirls". Or they may incorporate their '80s synths approach but also embrace a newfound twisted blackness, as they do on "Ever-Shifting Tunnels". Or they may go full jazz. Whatever happens, they will again be the band to watch for the current decade. Well done, lads.

"Manifolds
Through the lens come into sight
A velvet god
Sketching Eden In Reverse"


 



Written on 07.07.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 143 users
07.07.2020 - 10:37
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
If only other bands were as successful in changing their core sound
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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07.07.2020 - 15:33
DeliciousDishes
On the one hand I really like this album. It's very well written, fits together neatly, the synths are gorgeous and First Ape On New Earth might be a new favourite song of theirs. But on the other hand I don't think this is what I needed this year. 2020 has been so shit so far that I think I would prefer another album like Mayhem In Blue, which gave me a lot of fun moments in 2016 when it was released. Just something about the mellower and more toned down approach of this new one doesn't really cheer me up like the ultra whacky Mayhem In Blue did and still does. I hope they don't drop the whacky black metal entirely, but if they do at least I get a good prog band out of it. Just not optimal I guess.
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07.07.2020 - 15:53
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Great review. I was in the same position as you, basically. First couple of spins of this I was a bit disappointed and missed the goofy black metal vibe of earlier, but the more I played it the more this new sound seemed to work. I'm quite enjoying this shift and really don't mind at all if they keep up with it. Some of the melodies and lyrics from this album have been stuck in my head for weeks now.
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Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
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07.07.2020 - 16:37
SatanicBlood
I absolutely loved this album, they have never ceased to amaze me.
One thing that caught my attention about Crossroads, it's the first time I have ever heard a guest vocalist on an album be the one to sing the title of the record. That's a pretty unique touch I found more enjoyment in than I should have. The song also feels more like Borknagar musically, but a Solefald approach to the vocals.
The album definitely needs to be spun from start to finish, and I'm just focusing on that one song in particular. HSN keep it fresh in a world where bands play it safe all too often.
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http://idolatryblackmetal.bandcamp.com

Canadian black metal
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07.07.2020 - 19:45
nikarg
Mod
@DD: I know exactly what you mean. I thought I needed another Mayhem In Blue myself but in the process I managed to appreciate this for what it is. And since I am not prog's biggest fan, I am happy there is this band that does prog in a way that resonates with me.

@Che: Thanks, man. We have been sharing similar love for HSN and tbh I tried hard to do justice to the album. It wouldn't surprise me if I saw them being label mates with Oranssi Pazuzu for the next one.

@SatanicBlood: I really wasn't impressed with "Crossroads" when they dropped it as a single before the album's release. Now, I absolutely love it. Your last sentence says it all, I think.
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08.07.2020 - 10:48
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Now you need review films. Have you seen it, I love our i mean europeian movies, but non horror i have seen.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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08.07.2020 - 19:39
Nejde
Great review. Exactly my thoughts. For me this is already Album of the Year. Nothing is gonna top this.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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09.07.2020 - 20:32
nikarg
Mod
Written by Bad English on 08.07.2020 at 10:48

Now you need review films. Have you seen it, I love our i mean europeian movies, but non horror i have seen.

I used to watch way too much European cinema and still do, but not as often. I think I'll stick with album reviews for now
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09.07.2020 - 20:45
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 09.07.2020 at 20:32

I think I'll stick with album reviews for now

Metal Storm movie review article series when??
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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10.07.2020 - 12:06
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 09.07.2020 at 20:45

Metal Storm movie review article series when??

We do have this section for anyone wanting to contribute
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18.07.2020 - 11:44
TheBigRossowski
Dudeist Priest'
Dope album.
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That rug really tied the room together, did it not?
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25.07.2020 - 17:34
Mountain King
K i K o
Very well written review and clearly explains the different aspects of the album. I know the band by name but never gave them a listen so I am listening to it on YouTube after reading the full review. It's definitely not something you hear everyday but nothing that special for me for the time being. I think it needs repeated listens. Will make a final opinion with time.
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