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AKRITAS

Akritas

Eclectic Prog


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ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is kind of a strange album from a band that quietly released it and then disappeared. There aren’t too many Greek progressive bands, and the few I know of are mostly metal, which makes this an even more unusual band.

I know very little about the band, but the album consists largely of very short tracks (most of them around two or three minutes), some instrumental, with lots of rather disjointed keyboards and sporadic but pretty animated electric guitar. The vocals are Greek, or at least I assume they are, and at times the timbre and timing remind me a little of Bad Company or very early Moody Blues. The guitar work is mostly a kind of picking/strumming style, with occasional short blasts of an almost psychedelic nature. The drum and bass work is pretty muffled (pretty poor production), and not all that complex.

For the most part the tracks seem like unfinished samplers of riffs the band starts to develop, but then loses interest in. Some of the rhythms have a little bit of a Mediterranean feel to them with slow irregular patterns and slightly disjointed arrangements, particularly the instrumental “Ta Paidia” and the piano dominated “Tpagodyi”. "Ta Paidia" also has some decent syncopated drums that stand out a bit. Others like “Epietpofh” are heavy on organ, while still others feature acoustic guitar and ethereal keyboards (“To Oneipo”, “Gennheh”). There isn’t really any dominant style here – like I said, this album has more of the feel of a sampler of tunes rather than fully- developed works.

I’d like to know more about these guys, but none of them ever surfaced again as Akritas or in any other band that I’m aware of, and the liner notes on the reissued (but apparently not remastered) CD is in Greek so it offers few clues.

This is an interesting piece to own if you come across it, and I’ve seen it in used record stores on a couple occasions so the CD must not be as rare as the vinyl version probably is. Nothing special, but worth a few spins if you come across it. About 2.6 stars, so I’ll round to three and call it good.

peace

Report this review (#114354)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Stavros Logaridis was the leader of this band. He was previously in the band POLL which was a very good greek flower power band with hippy and romantic lyrics and some elements of greek folk music, the greek Crosby, Stills & Nash perhaps. (The two other main members were Kostas Tournas and Robert Williams. Kostas Tournas made an excellent prog-folk record called "Aperanta Horafia" (Endless Fields) with greek lyrics - worth checking out. After that he continued with a nice Ziggy Stardust-like album and then recorded many albums of average pop-rock and ballads)

When POLL disbanded Logaridis wanted to create something more complex so he formed Akritas. The only album ever released is in my opinion a great prog album especially for 70's Greece where imported records were hard to get, and there were no concerts of foreign bands so musians were based mostly on their own inspiration and the Greek tradition. Not as folky as POLL but still with a Greek flavor it reminds me of early Yes without, unfortunately, the technical skills to back it up. Although divided into small songs, it is meant as a single piece concept album though the (greek) lyrics do not focus on a particular story. It is worth noticing that the lyrics were provided by Kostas Ferris who also wrote the lyrics for Aphrodite's Cdild - 666. If the band was more daring they could have surely developed their very good ideas and melodies further. Anyway, it is an above average quality album and I would like to award 3+ stars but since that is not possible I have to go to 3.

After the indifference of the public, Akritas disbanded and Logaridis released more commercial rock music trying to appeal to the mass audience. He rarely succeded although he is still trying... What is interesting though is that in his 1979 album "Manoula Ellas" (Mother Greece) he included an instrumental theme that some years later Vangelis used for the main theme of Chariots Of Fire and won the Oscar!! He used it without crediting Logaridis or asking the rights to it and never to this day admitted it is the same theme. However, although differences do exist, those who have listened both (myself included) tend to agree with Logaridis.

Report this review (#121239)
Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Akritas, from Greece!

Well my knowledge about greek music in general is very limited, the obvious artists i knew before discovering PA were Vangelis and Aphrodite`s Child, since then i have been lucky to discover a few other bands, my knowledge is still being limited, but at least i can give my opinion about 2 or 3 more bands, this time Akritas caught my attention.

I had a little break from writing reviews, actually more than a month which is a lot for me, this album was in my list of albums to review, now i feel that i could share my opinion with you.

Again back in 1973 when progressive rock movement was at its best and being more and more recognized 8and practised) all over the world, a 3-member band released their eponimus album, sadly as thousands of bands, they dissappeared and never released a second effort, i would have loved to see if they could reach their boiling point.

This album is pretty short and consist in 13 songs with an average of 2.5 minutes per song, giving us only 33 minutes of very nice music, dont say that it is bad due to their short and not complex songs, i know several 30 minute albums that i personally call masterpieces, this isnt one of them, but anyway it is good. Also, let me tell you that the beginning is not what their music realy is, i mean, the first song starts with a bombastic sound a la ELP, but the direction of the album as a whole is not that, so dont make your choices before listening to all the album. Despite having very short songs, some of them are great and enyojable, with a nice variety of arrangements, and a very nice keys/organ playing, actually none of the members could be named as outstanding or virtuosos, but the music created together is what make this album very nice, the music could be from symph/bombastic, through jazzy and acid, to folkish and very calm,even some spacey notes here and there, so we can listen to different passages here, and if you are strict, probably you would say that the album lacks of an own and clearly defined style.

I am not familiar with the language here, i think it is Greek and sounds weird but i love bands singing in their own language, also an extra point (at least for me) is that the voclas sound a bit Italian style oriented.

This time i wont name or review song by song, since they are very short and none of them are outstanding to be mentioned and remarked. So for this record i think a grade of 3 stars could be accurate, because is good but definitely non-essential. Recommendable for fans of obscure bands nad for those who like to discover bands from other countries.

Report this review (#121941)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
NotAProghead
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars A friend of mine from Greece, big fan of prog, told me that ''Akritas'' is the best progressive album ever made in his country. After listening to some prog and prog-related Greek bands like PLJ BAND, APOCALYPSIS, PELOMA BOKIOU, PANOS DRACOS, SOCRATES and obvious APHRODITE'S CHILD I completely share his opinion.

AKRITAS created a unique piece of art, Greek in nature (vocals in Greek, though there are not many vocal parts, Mediterranian tunes throughout the album) and similar to Italian symphonic prog in approach, when lots of musical ideas change each other in a short period of time, making the music always unpredictable. The mood of the whole album slightly reminds me of BALLETTO DI BRONZO's ''Ys'' (though I don't think AKRITAS were familiar with ''Ys'' back then in 1973), maybe less dark. There are also hints of jazz and some ELP influences. Lots of contrasts, powerful organ chords, propulsive and at times aggresive drums, testful use of synthesizers, interesting guitar passages are the components of this short record. My only complaint is the final part of the album, it seems to me a little crumpled, while I expected some impressive coda.

A treasure from Greece, by right deserving better recognition. After some hesitations (4 stars + my love to Greece), 5 stars.

Report this review (#178677)
Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The early 70's was a very difficult period in Greek history ,politically and socially and this was reflected in the local music scene. I can't stop admiring the people that in these troubled times managed to create progressive or rock music, almost an heroic achievement, regarding the circumstances. And don't forget that Aphrodite's Child, the best and most succesful greek band, left Greece and moved to France to start their carreer. Anyway, Akritas released this album in 1973 and I suppose (I wasn't born yet) that it was a commercial failure, even though singer/bassist Stauros Logarides was very well known from the flower power band POLL. That doesn't mean that it was not a good album, on the contrary, it was a great album in the wrong time and place. It lasts only 33 minutes, most of the 13 tracks are very small but you can find numerous influences from many different styles and genres. From balcan folk and traditional greek scales and grooves to jazzy parts, classical arrangements and psychedelic verses. Everything is happening very fast, keeping the listener in a state of alert and making the album an adventurous journey. All different directions and arrangements are tied together by Logarides' few but wonderful, delicate vocal lines (something like the greek Greg Lake). Lyrics are in greek so I guess very few can understand them but I can assure you that they are very poetic, meaningful and wisely put into the right parts. To conclude, Akritas is a very unique album, doesn' t remind me of anything in particular and I strongly recommend it to the passionate collector ,not only for its folk or historical significance but because of its excellent and wide progressive music.
Report this review (#284122)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is without a doubt one of the best recordings to come out of Greece. Released in 1973 this album seems to have far more in common with some of those Italian greats from the same time period than anyone else.This is different but very interesting. Just over 33 minutes in length this album has a psychedelic flavour at times but there's lots of complexity as well. AKRITAS were a trio of drums, bass and keyboards although the bass player also plays acoustic guitar. A guest lead guitarist was added for this album and it's so cool to hear the two guitarists playing together.The album cover is stunning ! By the way the man who wrote the lyrics here also did them for APHRODITES CHILD's "666" record.

"Invader" opens with drums and synths that pulsate then the guitar comes in lighting it up after a minute. A calm with vocals and piano follows then it kicks back in to end it. Great track. "Genesis" opens with a pastoral sound as a beat with reserved vocals join in.This changes before a minute as the vocalist cries out.This is a moving section full of passion. "The Family" reminds me of POPOL VUH the way the lead guitarist plays while the acoustic guitar is strummed. Drums arrive around 1 1/2 minutes. "Memory" is an organ only tune that gets quite powerful at times. "Return" opens with organ as the drums join in and it builds. Piano a minute in replaces the organ. Guitar follows.

"Love" opens with light keys and drums. Mellow stuff. Bass follows then it kicks in 1 1/2 minutes in. Piano over top.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes.Spacey synths late. "Ego" is mainly piano melodies and reserved vocals. "Song" has these gorgeous sounding piano melodies then the drums join in. Great sound. Guitar before 2 minutes. So good. "The Festival" is a piano and drum led track. "The Miracle" is laid back with acoustic guitar,piano and reserved vocals. I like it. "The Dream" opens with vocals that remind me of Italian Prog. Strummed guitar with the lead guitar over top again in that POPOL VUH style. Things get intense late. "Look Both Horse & Green" features piano throughout with other sounds. "Conquest & Z Force" opens with guitar then synths join in followed by reserved vocals. A psychedelic track if i've ever heard one.

An adventerous album from a band who didn't believe there were any boundries when it came to music. Man the early seventies must have been such an exciting time for both the musician and the music fan.

Report this review (#386209)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best record from greece without any doubt! This power trio managed to do what I think it has to be done in every possible way: rock hard, show the influence of your music traditions, elaborate the balance between strong and light melodies and captivate the listener.

Try not to be surprise with the begning of the album, it will pass fast, so fast, that when you see it, the keyboards is leading you into outer space and the vocalist deliver you INSIDE the music. Its acid, but not psychdelic; its melodic, but not repetitive, evoques the past but in a futuristic manner. The cover of the album is probably the best depiction of the music.

With only one album, Akritas is another piece of "what could have been" in music that deserves the 5 stars.

Report this review (#1177085)
Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
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!

Report this review (#2448932)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2020 | Review Permalink

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