Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma [Psychedelic / Black Metal / Black N' Roll]
Just when you thought you've heard the weirdest music in the world, these Pink Floyd worshippers from Greece who also happen to love black metal dropped the most original metal album I've heard in a while. Okay, it's not original, it's been done to death since the 60s, since, yeah, Pink Floyd, and the whole love for classic rock thing's been Opeth's new flagship for the past few records and so on. But to this day nobody bothered to make it fun and just plain easy to digest, without skipping the complexities of such conflicting music styles.
With funky classic keyboards, guitar solos that were clearly still inspired by Jimmy Page, and, surprise, black metal screams and blastbeats, this album drops any anger and kvlt theatrics other black metal bands have been tirelessly practising for years. Instead, it's laidback, trippy, and the kind that brings warm smiles during the cold holidays days ahead. What metal has clearly neglected for a very long time, in its persistent search for truth and breaking drumming speeds and over-the-top compositions, is some beautiful catchy melodies. Believe me when I say this album may even appeal to fans of radio pop music.
The black metal aspect does its job of keeping the 60s music sections energetic and tapping on its affiliations with youth. Yes, this is simply rock n' roll carried forth to the future, with enough twist to seperate it from Pink Floyd copycats in the wrong time frame. The music isn't sterile in production, in fact, there is a soft hitting warmth to it that really enhances its trippy and happy-go-lucky atmospherics. The variety of instruments here is mind-boggling, but more importantly, tastefully implemented, not overdone, not randomly inserted for poseur's sake. The piano that completes the main riff in 'When All Is Black' is a good example of this, it is part of the song and adds a dash of classy mystery to what could be potentially idiotic song in the hands of a Satanic barbarian. 'Mountains Of Horror' ends with a sad guitar section but is coupled with nice untriggered double pedals that keep it refreshing but also emotionally complex, and the keyboards never ever let up, drenching every space it finds with melancholic dread or funk. Clean vocals start off 'Let Your Devil Come Inside' and it's icy, but nicely done without theatrics.
My one complaint is the lack of hard metal elements, but hey, I listen to music, not just metal. I love this record.
★★★★☆ Good - Strong flow, immediately grabs you