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Mother Turtle - Three Sides To Every Story CD (album) cover

THREE SIDES TO EVERY STORY

Mother Turtle

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 9 ratings

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TCat
4 stars Mother Turtle is a Heavy Prog band from Greece that was founded in 2011 originally under the moniker of "Hogweed". The band originally began as a jam band that took their music and developed it into musical ideas. Their fourth full-length studio album, "Three Sides to Every Story" was released digitally in August of 2019, and is later planned to be released on CD and vinyl in November 2019. Currently, the band is a trio consisting of Kostas Konstantinidis (guitars, keyboards, voices), George Filopelou (bass, voices), and George Baltas (drums, voices). The album is made up of three tracks, as hinted at by the title of the album, and has a total run time of over 38 minutes.

The album starts with "Zigu Zigu" (6:50) which starts with a start/stop, rapid fire, progressive riff that develops into a heavy, solid and uptempo track with all instruments front and center, and creating a definite heavy prog song that is obviously inspired by "Rush" instrumentals. The guitar takes the lead, but there is still plenty of room for the bass and drums to show off extensively. It's quite a rousing and exciting track with changing meters and themes, but mostly centered around variation on a main theme, yet also quite eager to explore other developments as it goes along. Well into the 4th minutes, things calm down quite a bit to a solo acoustic guitar and then some funny spoken word talking about whether this song is still considered an instrumental or not. After the spoken word section the music stays calm and fades.

"Notwatch" (14:54) takes on a soft groove for a jazz fusion feel complete with scratchy and fuzzy guitar. Two minutes in, synth provides a foundation for rapid guitar notes that improvise around a chord progression and riff. The intensity increases a bit while the guitar plays an impressive solo. The beat and groove take a rest in the 5th minute, and the music becomes minimal while the guitar flutters around quietly. Just before 7 minutes, a middle eastern vocal appears contrasting the jazz meandering of the guitar, with unstructured drumming coming in later. This loose improvisation continues along, ebbing and flowing as the guitar sees fit while the vocals continue. The chord progression comes back in the background, but then before the 10 minute mark, everything suddenly gets heavy, and the guitar and synth whirl around each other to get to a climax when the moderate rhythm of the drums comes in. The heavy prog aspect then kicks in with a slow, menacing build pushed forward by organ and guitar. While the thick guitar becomes almost drone-like, a synth riff flutters around and through the power chords, the organ starts to push the chords and the music builds even more. At 13 minutes, the apex is reached, and everything evens out while the guitar plays a rousing final solo to bring it all to a conclusion.

"A Christmas Postcard from Kim" (16:46) has nothing to do with a romantic correspondence to Trump from North Korea's leader (at least I think it doesn't, but then again, it might). The music quickly becomes heavy with a moderate beat and chunky guitar chords that create a nice progressive beat. This is soon interrupted by a piano playing chords and repeated notes in the lower register as drums soon join in pushing the piano forward into a melodic sequence. Sudden guitar riffage kicks in and out alternating with the piano until everything suddenly goes quite chaotic and wild. There is an interruption with this, some atmospheric music and then the music finally levels out as the guitar does a nice solo. This is all in just the first 5 minutes. Then the bass kicks in and heavy guitar chords kick in and a strangely, almost operatic tenor starts singing wordlessly. This all contrasts against each other giving quite an interesting texture, then the devil's chorus starts to sing. Talk about full of surprises, and they continue to throw in unpredictable turns as the music continues. But, it doesn't seem haphazard at all, but seems to flow naturally as it moves along. Eight minutes in, we get a slow bass riff with atmospheric guitar effects and interesting vocal interactions and effects, which makes for quite a unique sound. After 10 minutes, a twinkling chime plays, then a sudden return to the heavy sound which reestablishes a previous riff and progressive attack. Some interesting synth variations come in as the heavy background riffing continues interspersed with odd guitar effects and odd vocals continue. More heavy riffs and progressiveness continue along until after the 14th minute, then the music backs off, and things become spookily atmospheric. At 15 minutes, the progressive riff comes back and builds while spoken vocals start again. The guitar then takes the music to it's conclusion.

This is a pretty good album, with 3 long tracks that still feature a huge amount of variety within them. Surprises are packed in this album, especially in the last track as the music flows from light jazz to heavy prog and teeters on the edge of art rock at times. The most amazing thing is the way it all flows together, not sounding like a chopped up hodgepodge of styles, but in a rather cohesive way. The composition of the tracks is well thought out, and is probably inspired by the band's method of building music around jam sessions, but then everything is glued together seamlessly. It is an entertaining journey when all is said and done, and sometimes the line between humor and seriousness might be a bit blurred, but in the end, it comes across as a well constructed album. I know that after listening to the album, I definitely have a desire to check out their other albums.

TCat | 4/5 |

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