Hail Spirit Noir left its mark in 2012. The Greek threesome heaved out six wonderful sonnets of progressive/psychedelic rock and black metal forced into bonds of unholy matrimony on "Pneuma," which was a favorite of mine the year it was unconfined; it was one of the finer commodities released in 2012. Chapter two for these exploratory masterminds comes in the form of the seven-song, fifty-minute journey of "Oi Magoi," wherein the aesthetics of Hail Spirit Noir's debut continue to evolve and shift shape through its dazzling voyage into a million hallucinogenic hells. With tracks that are varied yet pleasurable and abstract formulas meeting together in some twisted nexus of Satanic majesty, it's no wonder Hail Spirit Noir continues to bend the customs of its musical bloodlines to make "Oi Magoi" another warped masterpiece.
Everyone and their brother has tried to successfully mend genres. The mile-wide difference between "Oi Magoi" and the dime-a-dozen nameless amalgams of the metal world is that Hail Spirit Noir is galaxies beyond the rudimentary concept of meshing sounds. The way the songs are geared and the musical avenues taken by the band are incredible, twisting and inverting the angles of black metal, progressive rock and psychedelic rock to bring out the remarkable colors of each from each. They don't perform these tunes through transitions but one huge melting pot of mayhem, where the wild and wacky rock riffs and Deep Purple-esque keyboards connect smoothly to tremolo picking and blast beats as if this whole style wasn't already a common anomaly. How many groups are this imaginatively enriched? Try not a lot.
But "Oi Magoi" somehow manages to be a step up from "Pneuma," which was no crapshoot itself. The slew of vocal styles-shrieks, clean singing, low croons-are coordinated slickly into whatever crazy storm of instruments the band applies, however madcap they may be. 70s-styled rockers like "Blood Guru" and "Demon for a Day" parade the group's trinity of flairs through bouncy rock sequences, shrieked vocals, fast-picked riffs and blast beats cooked over the light guitar tone, cheesy choruses that one can't help but sing along to, and an amalgamated production that brings out the message delightfully. The heightened black metal awareness on "Satyriko Orgio (Satyrs' Orgy)" acts astoundingly in altering the pace after three songs that were much more influenced by rock structures, though not short on shrieks and black metal riffs hooked around certain nooks and crannies.
The eleven-plus minutes of "The Mermaid" show pretty much every facet of Hail Spirit Noir working in unison, bobbing to and fro on a multitude of instruments leading the listener through slow, haunting melodies and an up-tempo conclusion layered in zany keyboards and excellent lead guitar work. The motifs on which "Oi Magoi" is twirled give each chapter its own unique mask, but I'm inclined to call "Satan is Time" my favorite of the herd because it's the perfect mixture of the album's elements: catchy and fun, yet shady and startling. Excellent stuff. Hail Spirit Noir transcends the concept of a few musicians pulling out goodies from a bag of tricks just to act unconventional; these are magnificent songs of the finest breed. Lightning strikes twice for these Greek magicians, and I'm rather fond of visiting the land of "Oi Magoi," where the non sequiturs make a frightening amount of sense and the cogs of perdition tick, tick, tick on clocks.