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I found out about Skinher completely by chance, when the band’s debut album, Heartstruck, popped up on my YouTube recommendations. When I first listened to it, I had no idea that Haris/Kyle Skinher from Hail Spirit Noir is the project’s mastermind, but the mix of heavy metal, hard rock, and glam ticked many of my favourite boxes. When I discovered that Haris and other HSN members were part of it, I had to know more.

Nik: Hello Haris, and thank you for doing this interview with Metal Storm. Tell us a bit about your new project, Skinher. Who is participating, and how did you decide to form it?

Kyle Skinher: It's actually the guitarist and the vocalist of Hail Spirit Noir, Theoharis and Cons, plus another drummer, one more vocalist and some extra lead guitarists. Since I was a kid I was always a fan of bands like Alice Cooper, Europe, King Diamond, Dokken, Malmsteen, you know, the '80s heavy metal, glam metal, with bits of darkness. I listen to this kind of music very often, I am a fan. So, I had a lot of melodies in my head that didn't fit Hail Spirit Noir and I just wanted to try writing some actual songs. I am really happy with what I created, it's an album that someone can listen and sing along loud.

Nik: Who has written the music and lyrics?

Kyle Skinher: I wrote everything myself, I also played most of the instruments, it's a solo project.

Nik: Looking at the album cover and the song titles, it feels like there is a concept or a theme behind Heartstruck. Can you tell us a bit more on that?

Kyle Skinher: The album is an anthology of horror-themed songs, every song is a different horror/slasher story, mainly inspired from VHS movies.

Nik: Is it a one-off project? Do you plan to do live shows with Skinher?

Kyle Skinher: I doubt I have the time to do live shows, but everything is dependent on the reception of the album. If it's successful, I will go for a second album, I loved the first one.

Nik: What’s the feedback you get from fans and the music press so far?

Kyle Skinher: The feedback is very positive, but I sense that most people of the underground scene will never bother to listen to glam heavy metal, so it's an album mainly directed to the masses. But I don't have the money, the label and the PR for the masses... But I knew this from the very beginning of the project.

Nik: Do you have any favourite songs from the album?

Kyle Skinher: I love "The Maniac Is Back" and "Josephine". The latter one is such an '80s melody! It reminds me heavily of Ozzy's ballads. I never thought I would write such a song, tbh.

Nik: It feels like with both Hail Spirit Noir and Skinher, you showcase a love for the '80s. Growing up around that time myself, I wonder whether it is an age thing, a trend, or something else? Nostalgia maybe?

Kyle Skinher: Yes, it is certainly this. But it is also love for the brilliant music and the brilliant synthesizers of the '70s-'80s era.

Nik: What are your influences in general? Favourite bands/musicians?

Kyle Skinher: I would mention Manos Hadjidakis, Radiohead, Death, old era Entombed, King Diamond, Jean Michelle Jarre, Air, Goldfrapp, Pink Floyd, Dissection, and many more.

Nik: The Greek metal scene seems to be thriving in the last few years, with quality bands popping up all the time in all styles of metal. Have you got any recommendations for new bands?

Kyle Skinher: Hmm, I recently listened to Stray Gods, an Iron Maiden sound-alike band, and I was amazed. I also liked the latest albums from Agnes Vein and Wardrum. Our synth player in Hail Spirit Noir, Sakis Bandis, is ready to release his new album with Horizon's End, they play '90s prog. It is one of the best albums I have ever listened to, honestly.

Nik: What kind of music do you prefer listening to in your free time, and what is the format of your choice (physical / digital)?

Kyle Skinher: I listen to extreme, experimental and prog music most of my time. But I also listen to electronica, jazz, orchestral and pop music, but it's hard to find new good bands in these genres.

Nik: Can you tell us which three albums you would want to have with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

Kyle Skinher: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain, Pestilence - Testimony Of The Ancients.

Nik: Can you name three musicians (living or dead) that you would dream of collaborating with, either with Skinher or with Hail Spirit Noir?

Kyle Skinher: Jean Michel Jarre for Hail Spirit Noir, Ozzy Osbourne as my singer for Skinher.

Nik: How do you like spending your free time? What are your interests besides music?

Kyle Skinher: I like reading, but I don't have much time to read, because I spend most of my spare time in the studio. I also like visiting nature, and I am also an amateur tennis athlete.

Nik: Do you have a favourite film / director?

Kyle Skinher: Stanley Kubrick is an inspiration for my music and my aesthetics in general. My favourite movie is The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky. This is such a wonderful film, ‘awe’ is the word for this one.

Nik: If you could have any director, living or dead, to do a video clip for Skinher, who would you choose and for which song?

Kyle Skinher: John Carpenter, who else?

Nik: Have you got any news to share about Hail Spirit Noir?

Kyle Skinher: Yes, I finished the Skinher album last summer, I had some rest from music for a year and I have started now composing music and exchanging ideas with Theoharis about the new Hail Spirit Noir album. Hopefully it will be out next year from Agonia Records.

Nik: Are you still involved in Katavasia? If yes, is there any news on that front?

Kyle Skinher: No, I only participated in the debut album, but didn't have the time to get involved later on.

Nik: Is there any chance of a Transcending Bizarre? revival, either for an album or a live show?

Kyle Skinher: Not a chance!

Nik: Thank you, Haris, that’s all from me. Anything you would like to say to Metal Storm readers?

Kyle Skinher: Thank you guys for the support. I really appreciate it.

Big thanks to Haris for this interview. Make sure you check out Heartstruck over here.

Posted: 14.05.2023 by nikarg | Comments (1)


When Sermon's Birth Of The Marvelous rolled around in 2019, it left quite an impression on me, especially as a debut album, but even with my expectations set I was still blown away by how much I ended up loving this year's Of Golden Verse. It seems to be a pretty universally beloved album, so taking that fact combined with some recent comments praising the song-by-song format for interviews that we used to have, I asked HIM of Sermon about his mask, his anonymity, hegemony, and most importantly, we went song by song through Of Golden Verse to really dig under the layer of thematic abstractization. And I forgot to ask HIM about HIM.

Posted: 12.05.2023 by RaduP | Comments (7)


With me loving Kill Grid so much, and with the release of War Remains on the horizon, I jumped on the opportunity of talking with the voice of one of the most blood-pumping crossover thrash acts of the moment, Enforced's Knox Colby. Here's what he had to say about the band's new album, Richmond's punk scene, and Brian Eno.

War Remains will be out April 28th through Century Media.

Posted: 16.04.2023 by RaduP | Comments (4)

The Canyon Observer

With the weekly onslaught of new releases that are hard to keep up with in themselves, it's even harder for stuff to stick to memory, especially when most of it stays in familiar territories. The Canyon Observer were never too conventional, but it was only with their latest album that they really took a leap, arranging their music alongside a free jazz chamber orchestra and making an avant-garde piece that blends post-metal, contemporary classical, free jazz, and noise. Obviously I wanted to know a bit more about what lead to it and what's next for the band. They were kind enough to answer my questions.


Radu: Your work was pretty unconventional by post-metal standards even before Figura. Could you give us some detail about how you consciously changed your songwriting approach from Chapter I all the way to NØLL?

Nik: Thank you. I think that this change of songwriting kinda happened naturally? With every new release we tried to find some new stuff that we can do with our music and push us out of our comfort zone. OK, to be honest, I think that this “getting out of our comfort zone” happened when we were working on NØLL and then with the other two “singles” that we released, "Urn" in 2019 and "Come Home" and "Break My Bones" in 2021, which were quite different then our previous music endeavors. Gašper and I have always been musically restless, we are both drown to so many different genres, so this also plays a big role in us (TCO) not having albums that feel or sound the same.

Radu: Speaking about your first three releases, they all have a human somewhere on the cover art. The one for Chapter I is specifically famous around here for also being the profile picture of one of our longest-serving staff members (also a Slovenian). Could you tell us who the models on each of those albums were and how you’d interpret the significance of each of those cover arts?

Matic: Those albums were made so long ago now, that I don't even know if I can talk about them in the same way as back then when they were created. The lyrics were mostly filled with lust, psychedelics and exploring your mind and body and that translated itself to the album covers and I don't believe revealing the identities of the models would reveal anything, they were meant to be open to the viewers interpretation, for the viewer to insert their own idea into the image. It's interesting that they probably mean a different thing to me now that it did back than. Thinking about it, it mostly makes me feel old.

Radu: What served as the inspiration for Figura and how did that take shape from an idea into a finalized album?

Gašper: The idea process for the Figura was strongly influenced by corona years and its impact on mutual relations and the resulting polarization, which passed into all spheres of social fields. By combining different musical practices, we tried to raise the question of solidarity and integration of different social spaces through the metaphor of the human anatomical body.

Radu: What was the most difficult part in composing Figura?

Gašper: The most difficult part was the inclusion of new instruments in the already formed band, since we had to foresee a place for them in the arrangements from the very beginning. We also redefined our work process, as we encountered sheet music for the first time, which was simply necessary due to the complexity and length of some rhythmic parts.

Radu: How “tourable” is the material on Figura? What would it take for us to see it on stage?

Gašper: It is definitely our desire to present Figura's music to a wider audience, but we are aware of the logistical problems, for us and for the organizers, that arise with such a large number of musicians.

Nik: Well if there will be an opportunity we will try and make it happen.

Radu: How many of the extra musicians involved in Figura have never played on a metal record before?

Nik: The only first timers in metal were Katarina (cello) and Jasna (baritone sax).

Radu: Seeing the video from the Kamnik Recording Session with the two drummers I’m somehow immediately reminded of King Crimson. Is that something you tried to replicate or am I looking too much into it?

Gašper: The idea, in our case, comes more from sludge and similar genres, as there were quite a few projects that used two drummers, such as Melvins, Kylesa, The Body & Thou, Fantômas Big Band ...

Radu: Are there any other blends of metal and jazz that you’d like to shoutout?

Gašper: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Fantômas, Mr. Bungle, Zu, Imperial Triumphant, Neptunian Maximalism, …

Nik: Ashenspire, Tantric Bile (Seminal Baptism album is just awesomeness on fire), Ex Eye, Child Abuse, Keiji Haino & Sumac, ...

Radu: Taking a look at the amount of Rate Your Music ratings, it seems like Figura is at least ten times more popular than any of your other albums. Is that something that is reflected as well in other statistics?

Nik: The ratings and the appreciation of Figura on RYM surprised us all. For a brief moment Figura was in eighth place on Top albums of 2023, which was quite amazing. And yes, since we released this album we are having like 1500 of monthly listeners on Spotify/Apple Music, which I know is not much really, but before Figura we had 200 max. To be honest we didn’t really expect that to happen with this album.

Radu: What’s next for The Canyon Observer? Are ambitious albums like this the norm now or will there be a return to a more straight-forward post-metal sound? Will we ever see a Chapter III EP? Will we see an even larger orchestra playing with you? Will you add a third drummer?

Nik: We’re currently “working” on a very short and (musically speaking) straightforward EP, we don’t have a name for it yet, but Chapter III actually sounds nice, so thank you for the idea! We will definitely do a Figura 2.0, the whole process of making this kind of album really sparked joy (hehe) for us, and we think there is still a lot of room for improvement, and yes, maybe it will feature even more musicians, maybe a choir, the idea of a third drummer sounds awesome and intimidating at the same time, but we don’t really have any ideas at the moment, we’ll start working on this at the beginning of 2024 and hopefully release it the same year (probably won’t happen, but one can dream, right?).

Radu: I must admit that my knowledge of Slovenian music is pretty limited, mostly encompassing Laibach, Devil Doll, and Neurotech. Are there any acts, whether contemporary or classics, that we should definitely check out?

Gašper: Vlaknasta, Koromač, Širom, Svojat, 2227, ...
Nik: It's everyone else, Britof, Nikki Louder, Agregat, Smedja in Smetke, Penitenziagite, U$IŁ, Lynch, Jolted, Eruption, Srd, Mart, Reach A.D., Haiku Garden, ... there's really a lot of great bands.

Radu: Anything else you’d like to add to our readers?

Nik: Just a thank you for taking your time to read this and for taking interest in our music.

Posted: 11.04.2023 by RaduP | Comments (2)