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Mother Turtle - Mother Turtle CD (album) cover

MOTHER TURTLE

Mother Turtle

 

Heavy Prog

3.76 | 57 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The self-titled 2013 debut from the young Greek band Mother Turtle is a competent but undistinguished throwback heavily in debt to a host of better known artists, all dutifully acknowledged on their official website: Camel, Genesis, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Rush, Marillion, Transatlantic, Neil Morse, Pain of Salvation, Kansas, "...and many more prog masters". It's an impressive list to be sure, but with so many yardsticks is it any wonder the band couldn't measure up to its own potential?

I'm willing to cut them a little retroactive slack, because the quartet was new and inexperienced but still willing to embrace a way of music long out of fashion. And because later albums (like their recent "Zea Mice": a stunning achievement by comparison) would fulfill the promise shown but not quite realized here.

Make no mistake: these guys can play. Guitarist Kostas Konstantinidis and keyboard player George Theodoropoulos make a formidable team, anchored by a solid rhythm section led by the nimble bass of Kostis Hasopoulos, sadly no longer with the group. But the problem with this freshman effort, as implied by the Mother Turtle mission statement about trying "to adapt the different elements of prog rock" and "taking advantage of the artistic freedom of prog rock", is that it approached Prog as a style and not as a direction.

The impression is left of a talented group perhaps trying too hard on their first album to recapture the spirit of a halcyon past they never experienced firsthand. Thus the silly fantasy lyrics about Zoltan the evil mushroom who wants to take over the world, and another song about what must be the sorriest elf in Prog Rock fairy tale history, all related by a singer unfortunately prone to occasional hyperbolic emotion (that must be the Neal Morse influence...)

Hints of a brighter future can be heard in the urgent instrumental jamming of "Rhinocerotic", the album's one purely musical digression. Here at last the Turtle throws off its shell and, for seven exhilarating minutes, is finally able to evoke all the Aegean Rock colors absent from the boilerplate Anglo-centric Prog weighing down the rest of the album.

Not a bad career start, all in all. But the group could, and would, do better, once they discovered their own musical voice.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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