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Akritas - Akritas CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 65 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars Akritas were a Greek band active from 1972 to 1974, consisting of Stavros Logaridis (vocals, bass and acoustic guitar), Aris Tasoulis (piano, organ, synth), and Giorgos Tsoupakis (drums). The only release in this trio's short-lived existence is their self-titled debut album. Interestingly, it was a commercial failure in their homeland of Greece (mainly because of the harsh political situation back then; the far-right Regime of the Colonels that ruled the country from 1967 to 1974, a dictatorship that utilized native folk music in the 'mainstream') but surprisingly, it sold better in Germany and Japan. All this, of course, leading to the break-up of the band, which left Greece with one of its most innovative and fascinating rock albums.

The sound on this album is heavily influenced by ELP, especially their debut masterpiece, early King Crimson must have also been a fascination of the band members, and last but not least, traces of late 60s psychedelia can be found sprinkled all over the album. Apart from that, the musicians used motives from traditional Greek music which gives this album a very original flavor. Jazz and folk moments are also not absent.

Given the background of 'Akritas', I find the mixing quite decent for what it is. The production is a bit too tight. The structure of the album is a bit peculiar because one can appreciate thirteen songs, for a total length of around 33 minutes, most of which are around the 3-minute mark, so all this makes the album disjointed and patchy. I think most of the songs could have been united into longer suites, something not unknown to the genre. The album would have benefited from such a decision.

However, with all that being cleared out, I have to say there are some really good tracks on this sporadic album. Opening track 'Invader' is quite reminiscent of ELP, 'Return' is very original, dynamic, and epic, 'Love' is a great composition, and also the longest one at around 4:30 minutes, 'The Festival' is really adventurous, 'The Dream' is my personal favorite, a very impactful song with a slower build-up and interesting development, and the final song here is really psychedelic-ish, or at least the closest they get to such a thing.

This is a great album from a pretty underground band, a record that would really speak to fans of progressive rock with its eclectic set of influences although being not that refined and leaving the listener with a sense of wonder on what else this band could have created. But I can tell you that this is an enviable piece in anyone's collection because of the story surrounding it and because of the original music on here. Oh, and how could I forget: the occasional vocal parts are all sang in Greek!

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |


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