Thomas Jacob Jr.
Hail Spirit Noir - Mayhem in Blue
Black Metal / Psychedelic
Dark Essence Records
About a minute into album opener “I Mean You Harm,” a campy carnival organ riff pierces through a black metal-meets-surf rock guitar melody. By this time it’s pretty clear that Hail Spirit Noir are a different kind of metal group, one which proudly incorporates the sounds of 60’s psychedelic rock alongside digital recreations of the kinds of organs and synths that wouldn’t sound completely out of place on an episode of The Munsters or Scooby Doo. Typical black metal heaviness is largely eschewed in favor of weirder soundscapes, such as in Mayhem in Blue, which opens with a combination of creepy woodwind melodies and odd, film soundtrack synthesizer sounds and moves through alternating passages of groove metal, instrumental noodling, and noisey drone before culminating in a soaring guitar solo. It’s a unique amalgamation of styles that avoids sounding like pastiche.