Hail Spirit Noir - Oi Magoi
Code666 Records
Black metal/occult prog
7 songs (50)
Release year: 2014
Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
Like many others I loved Pneuma, Hail Spirit Noir’s first album. Ok, not like many others, but probably a high percentage of those that actually heard it. Listening to it again in preparation for this review it sounds all the better; a rich, eccentric and whimsical record, flitting carefree between ramshackle black metal and olde-time prog ideas. It featured some lovely, pastoral occult ballads, sometimes even getting the flute out, to really perfect that “folk horror” ambiance. The Blood on Satan’s Claw vibe, combined with some super-catchy Hawkwind-style anthems made it a delightfully black metallized rendering of classic 70s sleaze.

Follow-up Oi Magoi is very similar in character, so those that missed Pneuma can clamber aboard the bandwagon now. In its first few minutes it comes across perhaps as a bit more confident and polished. Opener Blood Guru is based around a bubbling riff in a fast 5/4 rhythm. Over this is layered… all sorts of things, including lots of synth and some sweaty percussion jamming. Personally, I sensed some similarities with the last Oranssi Pazuzu: the general idea being an insistent riff looped over and over, allowing the band to experiment with instrumental textures over the top. See also the closing title track, which brings back the Latin percussion, and even forces in some free jazz splutterings of fragmented electric guitar lead. Hence what really impresses on Oi Magoi, to my ears at least, is the diversity and richness of the sounds themselves.

Many of the other characteristics which made Pneuma distinctive are also here. There is a lot of drollery in the band’s approach; see Demon for a Day here, which is basically a nefarious sea shanty. This is complemented by the dark balladry of Satan is Time; a gentle serenade to ultimate evil. My description so far probably gives the impression that there is virtually no black metal on this record, but this is not the case. The weird Satyr’s Orgy opens with a swath of blasting which is probably the most severe moment on the album. The black metal here is misshapen and tangled, with weird spindly lead guitar in the background jarring with the blast percussion. The track then derails into an abstract and inhospitable jam, heralded by oppressive sci-fi sound effects. I can’t finish without mentioning The Mermaid, which at eleven minutes is Hail Spirit Noir’s customary epic. To me, this was more immediately convincing than its predecessor on Pneuma: laid back but spooky jamming, which develops into a galloping prog stomper, including a lovely synth solo. I love this kind of thing. A highly recommended release.

Killing Songs :
The Mermaid, Oi Magoi, Blood Guru
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Hail Spirit Noir that we have reviewed:
Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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