After the darker shades of the first part, we’re easing up and broadening the scope. In the the second part of Catching Up, we enter the futuristic, the mythical and the occult.
Hail Spirit Noir – Eden in Reverse
Greek Hail Spirit Noir have been pushing the boundaries of black metal since 2010. With psychedelic and forward thinking releases like Pneuma and Oi Magoi, the band claimed their place among the best of the genre. Caught in perpetual motion, Hail Spirit Noir venture even deeper into uncharted territory as they explore the human condition on Eden in Reverse. On this album, the band presents a retrofuturistic sound steeped in progressive electronic and rock influences as they nearly abandon their metal roots. The result are seven tracks of 70s synth lines, prominent melodies and infectious vocal leads. Center piece Crossroads stands out as the album’s greatest highlight featuring Lars Nedland of equally genre-defying Solefald and Borknagar.
Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares
On Effigy of Nightmares, Valdrin further their own mythos shrouded in ever competent melodic and symphonic black metal. With their third album, the band adds another volume of lore to their world as they take us on a tour through Nex Anima’s torture chambers. The band channels their stories into vessels of villainous and grandiloquent black metal. Most notable are the tasteful keys and atmospheric density despite the straightforward songwriting and the short runtime of barely 30 minutes. As unsettling as it is fun, Effigy of Nightmares is a horror story with transilvanian qualities.
Circle of Sighs – Salo
The last item in this selection is the debut album by Circle of Sighs. Four tracks off of the band’s 2019 EP are now integrated into a greater whole on Salo. Though Circle of Sighs have occult doom metal roots, the fruits their tree bears are exotic, to stretch the metaphor. Frequent synth appearances add a synthwave vibe, especially on the title track, and contrast unexpectedly well with the rumbling guitars. On the metal side, the band offers thick doom metal riffs and catchy hooks. Salo is a solid first effort and doom metal bands with a strong character are hard to come by, so keep an eye on Circle of Sighs.