In metal scene from its origins til the present day, we have noticed its evolution through a combination of different genres. Very natural in my opinion, because music has no limits and doesn’t have to cling in various clichés and standards. Infinitely, the examples of artists and bands that wanted to differ from the rest, ‘shaping’ the influences that mostly expressed them, with a union of musical themes and the rich talent; This not only created new genres, but also let music head towards other paths and reach higher levels. The band we are going to chat with is called Hail Spirit Noir. They originate from Northern Greece, Thessaloniki. Having been active since 2010, they have released 3 albums with an unusual and unprecedented yet beautiful combination of progressive/psychedelic rock melodies ideally mixed with the aggression of black metal, Their most recent work ‘Mayhem In Blue’ has received very positive feedback, because they are pioneering in what they do and, as a natural follow-up, their talent is being recognized outside Greek borders as well. But, let’s see what the trio from Thessaloniki has to say…

Hello guys! Tell our readers a few words about your past, how did you get to know each other and about the creation of the band?

Well, all three of us used to be in another band called Transcending Bizzare?. Unfortunately, one of the other members passed away and he was a close friend of ours so that kinda took the wind out of our sails. TB were put on ice indefinitely but in the meantime, Haris had put together a couple of tracks of what later would become ‘Pneuma’. He asked Demian and me if we were interested in doing something this weird and we immediately said yes. We all love prog rock, black metal and horror movies and after working on a few more tracks we decided we would record it. And Hail Spirit Noir was born.

What prompted progressive/psychedelic rock with black metal? Which elements do you like to emphasize? And generally how would your music be characterized?

Haris wanted to pay tribute to the 70s prog rock scene and the Italian horror movies but with a black metal twist. Or vice versa. He hasn’t made up his mind yet and we’ve been praising the Spirit Noir for three albums now. Go figure. But seriously, it was his love for psychedelic aspect of the 70s and the sinister atmosphere that directors such as Fulci and Argento created that led to this combination. But it’s not as planned as it seems. Haris is the main composer but the songs take form once all three of us get working on them. We can’t really predict how they turn out. Songs are like an aural photograph of where you are at the moment. So it’s not like we pick an aspect and run with it. There’re always going to be psychedelic elements and harsh black metal elements. We could never figure out how to exactly describe our music. That’s a good thing if you ask me. But we had to find a way and we settled on psychoprog black metal.

There are many positive comments about your music, not that you don’t deserve it, how do you feel about it?

Well it’s nice to be appreciated, innit? We put a lot of hard work into this and we are grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given. But fear not, not everyone likes us.  Lots of folks hate us as well. That’s good, extreme reactions usually mean that we’ve made someone pay attention.

How did the name Hail Spirit Noir emerge?

It’s really an homage to the driving force behind the human condition, the darkness within each of us.  We are capable of a great many things yet every time the world moved forward it first had to take 4 steps back through wars and what have you. More often than not, our darker instincts prevail and guide our actions, justifying all we do is made easy. The name is also a praise to the philosophical version of the Devil. But that’s a bit too personal to discuss. Plus, the name allows for good horror story-telling.

Topics – what do you like to deal with?

There’s never been a definitive topic we focus on. Most of the songs are little horror stories with a twist. All these stories are centered around the human conundrum. How, though we strive for good, we allow our selfishness take hold and goad us towards the Spirit Noir. On ‘Mayhem In Blue’ the philosophical aspect was emphasized by accident although, ‘The Cannibal Tribe Came From The Sea’ is still a Lovecraft-ian horror story. Or a metaphor. You decide.

Another thing I would like to ask is in the introduction of your album, ‘Mayhem In Blue’ begins with the phrase in Greek ”Deep the root of evil that neither God’s hand may reach it”. What is your interpretation of it?

That’s a phrase Haris and I came up with. We firmly believe that if a deity ever existed, the human psyche is so twisted and toxic, it would have its job cut out trying to find an ounce of innocence and kindness. It is almost ingrained to our DNA.

What shall we expect from Hail Spirit Noir in the future? More experimentation?

I honestly have no idea. Again, we don’t plan anything. It might turn out more schizophrenic or with more somber undertones. It might be an all-out black psychedelic progfest. Or not. We are going to have to wait, you and I both.

When performing live gigs what is the feedback is by the audience? Do you think is also a way out for people to forget the harsh reality apart from seeing and listening to their favorite artists?

So far, it’s been great. We had a hard time putting together a line-up mostly because of our other commitments. But once we set our minds to it, things worked out fast. Sakis, Cons Marg and Foivos are all experienced musicians and have helped us get our freakshow to the stage. Live shows and all forms of art have provided a gateway to peace of mind. Escapism is not really art’s sole point but it certainly helps clearing your mind.

Tell us a few words about the New Long Fest that you will be appearing. And how do you feel about it? Favorite places you’ve played live?

It’s great to be on this line up particularly as we will be sharing the stage with great bands like Void Droid, Chronosphere and Mahakala to name a few. And that’s just on the first day!  There’s something for everyone on the bill and its 13 years of existence only help to prove its quality. We’ll be playing the fest for the first time and we’re all excited. As for favourite places we’ve played, it’s got to be Oslo, on the Inferno Festival. That was amazing for us and a real humbling experience to be around such great artists.

How do you see the metal scene in 2017?

To be honest, it’s not that different compared to say 10 years ago. There will always be great new bands lurking in the underground waiting for their breakthrough. There are always going to be bands doing things differently that will cut through all the media noise and info-saturation. There are always going to be those people that view the past through rose-tainted glasses and ignore what’s happening now. With the access we have today to new music the metal scene has gems to offer. Trends will come and go and genre resurrections will come in cycles. Bands like Zeal & Ardor (to name one) are doing things that might be not to everyone’s liking but it is something interesting.

I have nothing else to ask, thank you very much for your time. Last thing you would like to tell your fans and readers of Last Day Deaf?

Thank you for taking an interest in the band and hopefully we made this interesting. Looking forward to seeing you guys at New Long Fest, it’s going to be trippy.

Michael Natsis