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Mother Turtle

Heavy Prog

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Mother Turtle Three Sides To Every Story album cover
3.97 | 21 ratings | 4 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zigu Zigu (6:50)
2. Notwatch (14:54)
3. A Christmas Postcard from Kim (16:46)

Total Time 38:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Kostas Konstantinidis / guitars, guitar synth, keyboards, vocals
- George Filopelou / bass, vocals
- George Baltas / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Synodinos Moschidis (photo)

Digital album (2019)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MOTHER TURTLE Three Sides To Every Story ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MOTHER TURTLE Three Sides To Every Story reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 285

Some time ago, a friend of mine called my attention to a recently new prog rock band from Greece. I'm talking about Mother Turtle. Mother Turtle is a prog rock band from Thessaloniki, Greece that used the moniker Hogweed. It was formed in 2011 as a jam band. It's influenced by the great bands of the genre. They try to adapt the different elements of prog rock into their music, taking advantage of the artistic freedom that prog rock provides, to create their own world.

The album that my friend told me to check first was their sophomore album, only titled "II". As he insisted with me that it's a great and a very original album, I decided to check it. I must confess that after a first listening it didn't impresses me too much. However, and as that happened to me with many other albums during all my prog life, I decided to check it several other times. I never rate an album or do a review of it with less than four or five very attentive listenings. And I must confess that I changed radically my opinion about it. It's really a great album. And as I was so impressed with it I decided to check too their two other albums, their debut and the third one. And I confirmed that both were also great. But, what impressed me most is that all three albums are great in their own way, because they're three completely different musical proposals. The influences were so diverse and vast that I decided to review all their three albums here.

So after reviewing all three albums, I must confess that I didn't expect to be contacted by the band inviting me to review their new album. Usually I'm a bit reticente, as I explained some other times, to accept these invitations. I've many other things to review and I don't have much time to spend with reviews of new bands. However, in this case, I couldn't say no to a band that impressed me so much. So, it was with big expectations that I checked and reviewed this album too.

About the three first albums of Mother Turtle we can say that their debut is a mix of classic prog rock with a heavy touch that fits perfectly well in the modern neo-prog sub-genre. Their second album, considered by many as their best work, is a very eclectic album with many diversified prog styles, but that all flow together, not sounding like a chopped up hodgepodge of styles, but in a cohesive way. On the third one, we can hear some spacey and psychedelic influences as well as some jazz parts. The addition of a violin and a sax brought more textures to the overall sound of the band.

This new album of Mother Turtle, "Three Sides To Every Story" is a minimalist album with only three tracks with pure instrumental music. It continues the fusion of jazz and metal. When I read that Mother Turtle started as a jam band, I can see perfectly why. I always have the sensation that their music is based on jam improvisations. But, they do it very well. They're perfect in creating minimalist music, powerful pure instrumental music, from prog, to avant- garde. In reality, they don't need to use words to express their feelings. Which is most curious is that on this last album they're only three musicians. Mother Turtle started as a quartet and they became to be a sextet on their second and third albums.

About the tracks, we have only three here. The first, "Zigu Zigu" is the smallest track. It's a track with a very heavy riff that develops as a jam all over the album. Apparently, it seems to have a feeling of confusion with variations all over the theme. In the end of the track there are some funny spoken words about the track inviting us to relax and enjoy. The second, "Notwatch", is a much more complex track and lengthiest too. It has some folk melody and mysterious feelings that remind me their second album. This is also a track with great jam improvisation. In the middle we have also some vocals, kind of Middle Eastern vocals, which give to the track some calm jazzy flavor too. The final climax is very good. This is a better track. The third "A Christmas Postcard From Kim" is my favourite track. It's a heavier track with a very strong riff opening and where again we have the usual jam improvisation. The heavy and strange piano melody is shuddering. The female voice is sighed in the middle, while the great instrumental music has been maintained, and the middle section enters into a psychedelic atmosphere. The metal returned, accompanied by some quirky sound effects and harmony and a narration of a human voice. Then the music faded like how powerful an epic must be. One last thing. The track is surely linked with "North Korean beloved lider". It can be seen by the aerial sirens that we can listen here.

Conclusion: This is another excellent issue of Mother Turtle. This is the heaviest thing they made till now, I think. The band doesn't stop surprising me with great works. Still, maybe I expected a bit more of them. Mother Turtle gave me very high expectations. But don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this is a minor work. What I intend to say is that they did a too much minimalist album in length and instrumentation. And I'm not saying the band couldn't fill perfectly well the overall sound of the album. Still, I've the feel that something is missing. Mother Turtle got us used to a more complex sound on the previous works. The use of violin and sax on the two previous albums was great. Despite the use of some keys, I felt the absence of a keyboardist. It could have been even a better album, with the use of more instrumentation.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Kempokid
4 stars As has probably been made clear through numerous of my reviews by this point, I'm not really the biggest fan of a lot of instrumental prog, I generally enjoy if it's just one song on an album, but pure instrumental prog, especially of this variety, when it's quite close to metal, just leaves me bored. As this album proves however, it's not always the case, as in the three tracks present here, I very rarely felt disinterested, each track having its own distinct style and exceptional musicianship, not to mention quite a bit of charm in certain places. While far from a revolutionary album, there's no doubt that it's definitely a fun one.

Zigu Zigu, while the shortest track by a considerable margin, is nonetheless great, the frenetic intro perfectly seeting up a powerful impression that sticks around. The track is more or less a collection of incredible riffs played in succession with solos over the top, fairly standard in instrumental prog, but the quality of these riffs combined with how tightly everything is played definitely has it stick out, especially with the consistently great bass playing that has hints of Dream Theater and even some Muse all over it, particular sections of it sounding strikingly similar to Stockholm Syndrome. To cement this song as a great, fun one, the spoken word section at the end asking whether or not this now counts as a song because of having this section is generally amusing and tongue in cheek, adding some additional charm to this great track. Notwatch is considerably more chilled out, with the sound of summer running strongly through it, a quality that I found equally admirable in Starving Daughters' Strange Valleys. While the first osng focused a lot on technicality and catchiness, this one goes for a far more tonally focused approach, much more prominent in atmosphere. While the song occasionally picks up in volume or power, it continuously returns to the same riff in order to maintain a wonderfully calm, peaceful tone, despite the drum freakouts in the background. I can't say that I wholly enjoy the middle section when everything dies down and the vocals come in, as I find it to meander too much, but the gradual buildup into a much darker, heavier section of the track is executed well, and the rest of the track to continue changing up the atmosphere in an interesting fashion.

While Zigu Zigu had a lot of focus on technicality, and Notwatch focused more on tone and atmosphere, A Christmas Postcard from Kim definitely looks more into varying musical intensity, once again to great effect. This track sounds the most like prog metal by a considerable margin, with far heavier and faster guitar and drum work all throughout, making for an excellent continuation to the direction in which Notwatch was beginning to head. The operatic vocals combined with the exotically tinged riff duringaround the 6 minute mark is great, especially with the way it then continues to build from there, adding additional voices and showing great interplay in order to create part of a track which while not fast, is nonetheless an intense experience. As the song further slows, the vocals continue, this time feeling fragmented and unnatural, definitely a combination of the deadpan delivery and bizarre vocal manipulation creating a robotic, futuristic atmosphere, something that remains consistent throughout the rest of the track, and is a contributing factor to it being my personal favourite.

While not extremely groundbreaking, this album is undoubtedly an enjoyable one, varied throughout the three tracks, with each one truly feeling progressive regardless, shfting through various styles and approaches without ever feeling hamfisted in the process. I found this a very worthwhile listening experience, the tracks being long, yet highly dynamic, and often quirky without becoming overbearingly so. At the very least, this album has convinced me to go back and check out this band's previous couple of albums.

Best tracks: All of them

Weakest tracks: None of them

Verdict: A fun, mostly instrumental prog album that often teeters on the edge of metal. Definitely an enjoyable and accessible listen for those who enjoy instrumental prog, and probably one that I'd recommend to those looking for a gateway into it as well, as it is considerably more varied than a lot of other instrumental prog albums I've heard.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 2019's offering from Greek prog virtuosi Mother Turtle.

1. "Zigu Zigu" (6:50) instrumental hard rock musings and playfulness. Are Kostas and the Georges secret LED ZEPPELIN wannabes? Who knew! Tight and fun. Weird segue at 4:15 into a kind of laid back (13.25/15)

2. "Notwatch" (14:54) opens with a very engaging blues-rock jam over which Kostas Konstantinidis does some very impressive lead guitar soloing. The chord progression used is so great--so uplifting--soundl ike it came straight out of a UNAKA PRONG song. Near the end of the sixth minute everything empties out for some spacious solo echoed (and effected) jazz guitar play. At 7:00 the lonely guitar is joined by a recording of what sounds like a Persian religious singer. Her song is quite lovely if oddly affixed within the spacey-experimental psychedelic work going on with the guitar and drummer. At 9:38 we open a door to a KING CRIMSON "Lark's Tongue"-like jam that then turns into a heavy DEEP PURPLE-like jam at the eleven-minute mark. Bass man George Filopelou has his breakout moment in the sun while metal power chords and church organ disburse their wares over some impressive At 13:10 another sideroad is taken--this one sounding like a cross between FOCUS "Hocus Pocus" and something by early Led Zeppelin (It's been a long time since I "Rock 'n; Roll"ed). What a wild, unpredictable ride! (26.75/30)

3. "A Christmas Postcard from Kim" (16:46) opening with yet another attempt at LED ZEPPELINness. At 1:35 we change our course into a more contemplative groove--something almost experimental which turns polyrhythmic and then Heavy Metal and Tech Metal HENDRIX. In the fifth minute Kostas launches into some guitar pyrotechnics while the two Georges (as well as Kostas' rhtyhm guitar work) play with their polyrhythms beneath. Very tech metal of them! Operatic female vocalese joins in for the seventh and minutes. I love the contrast between the vocal (and, later, Zeuhlish group chant vocals) over the metal textures! Another spacious divertiment in the middle two minutes with sampled male (and, in the background, female) Arabian voices before reverting back to a more hard-rock palette. Some YES/UK/KING CRIMSON-like time syncopations around the 12-minute mark before settling into a bass-led groove for some weird ("silly") male-acting-the woman vocals strewn about. Again, the experimentations with time signatures and polyrhythms are quite constant and interesting--perhaps the main focus/intent of this song? At 4:35 we fall, once again, into an isolation pit in which we are bathed by cymbal washes for a bit before progressing through the underground passageways with one lone torch providing our light. This last motif is, sadly, the end as the music slowly fades out despite kind of just getting started (and, of course, leaving us to our own devices to try to find ourselves out of the underground. Asie from this little disappointment, this has been a great ride; as usual, very unpredictable. I have to mark this one down a bit precisely for the odd and inexplicable/unjustifiable twists and turns taken just for a postcard. (31/35)

Total Time 38:30

While I love and appreciate the unpredictable experimental nature of these guys' directional choices, the holistic integrity of the compositions are sometimes lacking--or, rather, are unexplained and therefore, often outside my range for empathy and comprehension (though never outside my capacity for appreciation and admiration). The songs on the band's 2016 album, II, at least had purpose and made sense; for these, I feel completely clueless: as if I'm viewing a slideshow of totally random photos--and I so want to be an insider!

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. Kudos to Mother Turtle for keeping it fresh--being unafraid to travel in new directions--to try new things!

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