Pixie Ninja is one of the few bands I didn't know were releasing albums. Therefore first a short history lesson for everyone who also wasn't aware of them. They were formed early 2015 in Rognan, Norway. You could say that this act is the brainchild of Jostein Haugen (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Marius Leirånes (guitar, bass, keyboards).
They were later on joined by the well know drummer Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, Necromonkey and White Willow) as a guest musician and he also produced their debut Ultrasound (2017) and follow up album Colours Out Of Space (2020).And now this act is back in the spotlight with their brand new album Hypnagogia on which Olsson is no longer a guest musician but a full band member. This time around he not only hit the drums but also played on the keys and guitars. Of course he also did the production of the bands third album. Only the saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby (Shining, In Lingua Morta. Ihsahn) is involved as a guest musician and can be heard on Thanatosis.
For does who don't know the meaning of Hypnagogia, I can tell that it describes the state of consciousness when falling asleep. You are dealing with the different stages between wakefulness and sleep. To bring this concept to life the musicians use vintage instruments such as the Orchestron, Maestrovox, Fender Rhodes and Mellotrons, but also make heavy use of samples and modern synthesizers. Their kind of instrumental progressive rock is combined with atmospheric soundscapes that blend majestically into sections of experimental chaos. You mainly hear a lot of heavy guitars, interspersed with electronic tones and threatening atmospheres. The hypnotic tones of a dominant guitar, heavy drums and ominous synthesizer tones are interrupted by heavy guitar work from time to time. Listening to this kind of music of course asks a lot of the listener and therefore it is advised to listen a couple of times with an open mind before you can come up with a verdict.
The sound spectrum on this release offers progressive rock that meets anthemic, eerie and experimental scenarios with polyrhythmic and apocalyptic industrial electronics. Sometimes you hear complex progressive rock other times a kind of dance music with a strong beat. Musical references and bands that might have influenced them are acts such as King Crimson, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. I can't name any favourites but all in all the songs sound rather good if you concentrate on the music seriously without any distractions.
Giving a verdict isn't easy I can tell you. But the band stays on the positive side of rewarding that's for sure. Because what I heard, even if it was chaos and weird sometimes, has musical parts that certainly may attract many lover of our beloved musical genre. So well done after all even if I don't listen to this kind of music on a daily basis!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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