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MOTHER TURTLE

Heavy Prog • Greece


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Mother Turtle biography
Founded in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2011 (Initially as "HOGWEED")

MOTHER TURTLE started as a jam band by musicians that were already very active, being involved individually in several other music projects and doing live gigs on a weekly basis. But during those jam sessions, some solid musical ideas were developed and after a lot of rehearsing they evolved into songs. Main influences include the greats of the genre such as progressive rock RUSH, CAMEL, GENESIS, FRANK ZAPPA, MARILLION and many others. The band consists of Kostis HASOPOULOS (bass, backing vocals), Kostas KONSTANTINIDIS (guitar, vocals), George MPALTAS (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and George THEODOROPOULOS (piano, organ, synths, programming).

First live gig was under the name HOGWEED in April 2012. The name changed to MOTHER TURTLE a little bit later and since they played various gigs, sharing the stage with fellow bands such as POEM, LAZY AFTERSHOW, 3-FOLD PAIN and also Swedish vintage heavy rockers SIENA ROOT in Athens in April 2013.

The first self-titled 7-track album was released on 4th of October 2013 and was recorded, mixed and mastered from February to July 2013 in Sin City Studios, Thessaloniki by sound engineer Kostas Kofinas. The whole album is available for online streaming and digital downloading in their page on Bandcamp.

The band mixes successfully elements from symphonic, folk, neo- and heavy progressive with the latter potentially standing out a bit clearer in their influences; they still though remain a band difficult to categorise and come highly recommended.

Biography kindly provided by the band - edited by aapatsos

See also: HERE

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MOTHER TURTLE discography


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MOTHER TURTLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 55 ratings
Mother Turtle
2013
3.94 | 68 ratings
II
2016
3.91 | 112 ratings
Zea Mice
2018
4.05 | 8 ratings
Three Sides To Every Story
2019

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MOTHER TURTLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Three Sides To Every Story by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.05 | 8 ratings

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Three Sides To Every Story
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 Three Sides To Every Story by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.05 | 8 ratings

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Three Sides To Every Story
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 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*)

 Three Sides To Every Story by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.05 | 8 ratings

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Three Sides To Every Story
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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.

 Zea Mice by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 112 ratings

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Zea Mice
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The northern Greece septet Mother Turtle began life as a jam band in Thessaloniki, but those improvisational skills would stay dormant until the group recorded its third studio album in late 2017. After previously aping the efforts of too many English and American role models, the band shifted its entire approach to making music, and in the process accomplished something rare in modern Prog circles: they actually progressed, far enough to be almost unrecognizable from the same musicians responsible for the excellent but more conventional 'II' album in 2016.

It was a dramatic left turn in what could have been a predictable career arc, embracing a far more dangerous form of (strictly instrumental) musical spontaneity, risky in practice but more rewarding in realization. The motivations behind the unexpected shift in style are unclear, but it was a smart move: these guys work better as musicians than as songwriters, and "Zea Mice" proves that point in sometimes stunning fashion.

The first track ("Zea Mice Part 1-Kukuruzu") opens with all guns blazing, propelled by an angry, urgent rhythm more or less maintained for the rest of the album. The distorted (Russian?) voice at the beginning sets an appropriate mood, sounding to this cineaste like a Tarkovsky Stalker warning trespassers away from The Zone (the album's digital 'cover' photo of industrial decay only heightens this impression).

A hint of heavy Space Jazz juju emerges in the second half ("Zea Mice Part 1-#Cornhub": all the track titles are inscrutably repetitive), with ace violinist Alex Kiourntziadis leading the charge. The occasional near-ambient interlude ("Zea Mice Part 2-Zeitenlik") does nothing to soften the album's exhilarating momentum; it isn't until the end of the climactic 16-plus minute "Zea Mice Part 3-Nostos" that the energy level subsides, into a surprising (but not unwelcome) mellow jazz coda totally at odds with the musical juggernaut preceding it: the musical analogue of that pensive cigarette break after a night of intense sex.

My only criticism is about the sometimes haphazard organization and editing. Individual tracks often fade into a performance in progress, and are rarely resolved in anything like a satisfactory ending. As a result the music lacks the seamless transitions that would have elevated the album into 5-star territory, but it's a mild complaint, and easy to forgive while in the grip of the performances: more of a chokehold really, and impossible to resist.

Without a doubt the album was one of the highlights of 2018, and marked a significant musical evolution for the band over the span of only a few studio albums. Apparently, for this Turtle, slow and steady wasn't going to win any races.

 II by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 68 ratings

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II
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The 2016 sophomore album by the eclectic Mother Turtle was a remarkable improvement over the band's insecure debut, recorded three years earlier. The difference can be heard in the newly expanded roster, with saxophones, flutes and violins adding vibrant instrumental color to what had previously been a strictly secondhand palette, borrowed from too many Anglo-Prog role models.

The new music was still mostly vocal but featured longer, less song-driven passages, all of it more deeply rooted in the soil of their native Greece and revealing an exotic Balkan flavor appropriate to a young group at the crossroads between Europe and the Near East. And it's a concept album, too: another healthy sign of renewed ambition.

The subtext is artfully oblique, and totally open to interpretation. But it can be discerned in the many recurring musical and lyrical motifs, beginning with the a capella "Overture": a looping multi-tracked mantra recalling Gentle Giant at their knotty mid-'70s best. "People tend to forget / People tend to forgive", chant the overlapping singers, the implication being that we shouldn't do either.

That lilting refrain is repeated elsewhere, emerging again in the album's epic centerpiece "Walpurgi Flame", one of the more convincing long-form Prog fantasias in recent years. The ominous introduction recalls (without imitation) classic Van Der Graaf Generator, to a degree where I almost expected to hear Peter Hammill begin screeching about Scorched Earth, instead of the soulful female guest singers, together adding another oblique stylistic layer to the revitalized Mother Turtle sound.

The song eventually rises to a thrilling crescendo of Mellotrons, real strings, and aggressive guitar work: old school Progressive Rock, but framed in a more contemporary setting. A chilling epilogue follows, built around eyewitness documentary sound samples from the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks: uncomfortable to hear, even after nearly two decades, but investing the album with deeper thematic meanings.

The same can be said about the album's video 'trailer' of song samples, edited to images of Jeanne d'Arc's martyrdom by fire...are you seeing a connection yet? And finally there's "The Art of Ending a Revolution", closing the album on an extended medley of dramatic instrumental jamming, and strong enough to elevate my conservative rating another full star. The slow fade-out suggests unfinished business, musically and (perhaps) thematically: an obvious signpost to the near-masterpiece of "Zea Mice", released two years later.

In the span of a single album Mother Turtle jumped from being a band worth watching to a band worth following. Not bad for a group named after a plodding amphibian synonymous with inertia.

 Mother Turtle by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 55 ratings

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Mother Turtle
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by 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.

 Zea Mice by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 112 ratings

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Zea Mice
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 255

Mother Turtle is a Greek progressive rock band that started as a jam studio band who take their cues from nearly all aspects of progressive rock, a synergy of many ingredients tossed, fried, and served in sizzler style to make this a very tasty prog band. Mother Turtle was formed in Thessaloniki in 2011 and previously was known as Hogweed. The band members cite as their inspirations Frank Zappa, Rush, Camel, Genesis, Marillion, and many other prog rock legends.

Mother Turtle is perhaps the most mischievous and known progressive rock band from Greece nowadays. Surely it's one of the most representatives of the term 'progressive', without the strain it has been through for at least 20 years, and not just within borders, is global. If there is an element independent of the exact musical content I'm looking for in a prog band, that's the unpredictability. Mother Turtle have this element as a key part of their temperament and that was shown both on their self-titled debut studio album in 2013 and on their second one 'II' in 2016. Even within each album the different elements are many and even the basic direction isn't the same on the tracks. Their third studio album 'Zea Mice' released in 2018 solemnly confirms the above it the most challenging listening experience offered us so far.

So, 'Zea Mice' is the third studio album of Mother Turtle and was released in 2018. The core of Kostas Konstantinidis, George Theodoropoulos and George Baltas have been writing music together since the band's self- titled debut, adding George Filopelou, Alexander Kiourntziadis and Babis Prodromidis for their sophomore release 'II'. All of them have stayed on for this third foray into the realm of the progressive rock music. So, the line up on the album is Kostas Konstantinidis (lead and backing vocals, guitars, MiDi, ukulele and composer), Giorgos Theodoropoulos (keyboards and programming), Babis Prodomidis (saxophone), Alex Kiourntziadis (violin), George Filopelou (bass) and Giorgos Mpalats (drums). 'Zea Mice' also features some guest musicians, Elpida Papakosma (vocals), Aristotelis Mavropoulos (reader) and Apostolis Georgiadis (percussion).

For an unsigned act in just their seventh year, Mother Turtle has presented some remarkably mature and fascinating writing to the world. Their independent work is polished and consistently gains reputation in the realm of progressive rock music. In their new work, Mother Turtle decided to silence vocally and concentrates almost only on music. From the earliest hearings, one could say that the band parodies an entire musical genre. Still, things in 'Zea Mice' are absolutely serious, really. But, perhaps the most interesting here is that 'Zea Mice' is an instrumental album, which is a departure from the band's first two previous albums, both of which featured regular vocal work. While several pieces on this release do feature recitations and meandering vocalizations, the vast majority of the album is an extended instrumental journey through funk, jazz, electronic, and ambient music. 'Zea Mice' proves that Mother Turtle can and will employ a varied approach to composing in a musical niche where it seams the sky is truly the only limit to them.

'Zea Mice' is comprised of three movements, simply entitled Parts I, II and III, each one is a multi-track ordeal. Being an instrumental album with ambiguous track titles and only a handful of spoken portions, all in Greek, by which to navigate, the album's artwork and language conjure thematic images of refuse, abandonment, and survival. Musically speaking, there are sections that trend toward jazz-fusion, others that are dirty hard rock, and others still that touch on the territory of avant-garde music. The composition of Mother Turtle remains the same and unaltered compared to the previous 'II'. The jamming spirit that seemed to adopt on their previous work, not only continues but it's also a vehicle to explore new prog paths that we have not been used to. One would say how the neo-prog and symphonic style of their self-titled debut has almost disappeared, while the jazz rock and Canterbury elements of 'II' have been thrilled by psych prog touches that bring to my mind the best moments of Ozric Tentacles and Porcupine Tree period of the 90's.

Conclusion: Mother Turtle impressed me once again and I would say that I'm very impressed with the way the band evolves. 'Zea Mice' is a difficult but a brilliant album of Mother Turtle where is difficult to point an indisputably lonely progressive style. One has to invest some time and effort to get to the bottom of this band and album that, besides a broad range of musical approaches, also offers an infinite number of instruments and moods. This isn't easy stuff, indeed. Personally, I think it really says something about the band's compositional abilities when they can write an instrumental album with unique tracks that don't simply bleed into one unidentifiable whole. In reality 'Zea Mice' is an ingenious combination of styles and flavours of rock, jazz, primal prog, contemporary prog, larded with folk, metal, oriental, classical and endless other influences. Prog rock must be revolutionary, and under this light, Mother Turtle is the undisputed marketers of this particular artistic insurrection. So, 'Zea Mice' is a strong and great album to listen to.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 II by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 68 ratings

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II
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 254

Mother Turtle is a progressive rock band from Thessaloniki in Greece. They were formed in 2011 originally as a jam band, using the moniker Hogweed. In the jam sessions, some solid musical ideas were developed and after a lot of rehearsing the band were evolved into proper songs. They decided to change their name to Mother Turtle sometime in 2012, following the realization that they wanted to create their own music, based on common musical interests. Mother Turtle is influenced by great artists of the genre. Mother Turtle was the wedding of the classic prog with the modern prog. On their Facebook page the band includes as some of their influences Spock's Beard, Camel, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Rush, Marillion, Transatlantic, Neal Morse, Pain Of Salvation and Kansas.

The music of Mother Turtle tries to adapt the different elements of the prog rock music into their own music, taking advantage of the artistic freedom that prog rock provides. Out of the loose jams more and more concrete musical ideas developed, which ultimately led to their own pieces. Mother Turtle released three studio albums until this moment, their self titled debut studio album "Mother Turtle" in 2013, their second studio album titled "II" in 2016 and their third studio album titled "Zea Mice" in 2018. The second of these three albums is the one which will be the subject of this review.

So, "II" is the second studio album of Mother Turtle and was released in 2016. The line up on the album is Kostas Konstantinidis (lead and backing vocals, guitars, MiDi, ukulele and composer), Giorgos Theodoropoulos (keyboards), Babis Prodomidis (saxophone and flute), Alex Kiourntziadis (violin), George Filopelou (electric and fretless basses) and Giorgos Mpalats (backing vocals and drums). The album had also the participation of Alexandra Sieti (vocals) and Maria Mariadou (vocals), as guest's singers.

So, three years after their impressive homonymous debut, Mother Turtle released their second studio album, simply entitled "II". The band once again takes over the release, thus indicating the autonomy and determination to achieve their musical vision. Bolder than ever and with more experimentation this time, Mother Turtle shows us a renewed version of their sound, where the heavy and symphonic elements gives way to directions that refer more to the jazz "sensitivities" of the Canterbury scene. All musicians have now the time and space to unfold their own talents and improvisational ability and the significant additions to the band composition reinforce this commendable effort. "II" is a big step for the band, in the context of continuous improvement, both synthetic and executive, and could be an album with a timeless value and recognition in the progressive rock scene. Mother Turtle plays inspirational and adventurous prog rock with a rich sound, showing their vision and ambition. That is perfectly perceived by its very first listenings. "II" has six tracks. The opening "Overture", despite its short duration and minimalistic development nicely takes us aback by the repeated multiple vocals that bring to my mind similar moments of Gentle Giant. "Harvest Moon" is really a great track with clear influences of King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator. It also reminds me Discipline, at times. The saxophone and violin operate faultlessly, combined with the theatrical tone of the vocals. This is one of the best tracks I've listened to in the last years. "Ennui" sounds like an atmospheric evocation, an intense emotional moment where the flute and fretless bass make the piece hover. "Walpurgi Flame" is the lengthiest track. It's a truly adventurous piece with interesting changes and escalating tensions. The violin and saxophone duo gives a dramatic tone until a pretty delicate melodic "crust" is formed. The female vocals add some sensuality to the piece. "The Tower" comes to remember the terrible memories of September 11th. This is a very beautiful and power piece of music were the drumming work shows confidence and comfort linking the changes between the rhythm and musical themes. "The Art Of Ending A Revolution" is a melancholic piece that begins with optimism, where the contrast of emotions is identified and alternates with the singing of wind, string and electric guitar, until complete it with an exemplary climax in the end.

Conclusion: I think Mother Turtle has all the ingredients to be a great band. I must say that I was very impressed with their second studio album. In reality, Mother Turtle manage to meet all the expectations, thanks to the maturity, evolution and quality that can distinguish them. Perseverance, passion and extra experience are clearly here. It seems the band has a serious musical project very well structured that can measure the pulse of both, musically and lyrically. "II" is a choice that meets the ambitions of a band that filters out its influences and delivers a set of choreographed, mature and well crafted compositions. "II" has become truly beautiful, sometimes almost fragile, a retroprog album of a special kind. With this album, Mother Turtle proves they master very well the art of not giving up on to evolve on their music. This is an excellent conceptual album. The genre fans should be thrilled. The album gives to them a good way.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mother Turtle by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 55 ratings

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Mother Turtle
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 253

The Greek prog scene, despite all odds, continues giving us remarkable albums. This is due to the talent, hard work and above all, the determination shown both by the musicians and the people behind the bands that strive to promote them inside and across borders. Mother Turtle is one of those bands. In the last five years they have managed to make a sensation from the start and have nothing to envy from many other similar bands and releases made outside of Greece.

The Greek band Mother Turtle was formed back in 2011, originally as a jam band using the moniker Hogweed. They decided to change their name to Mother Turtle sometimes in 2012, following the realization that they really wanted to create their own music based on common musical interests. 'Mother Turtle' is their self debut album released in 2013.

Their main features are the perfect balance between structured ideas and experimentation, the technical competence of their music that works in favor of emotion and the smart use of their influences through knowledge of the past decades. Certainly, they don't lack modern aesthetics and expression that gives a new perspective to the term neo-prog without coming as a surprise to the traditional enthusiasts. Mother Turtle's eponymous debut album was a welcoming proposal of a band, which from the very beginning showed a very special ability to mix sounds and influences of an extremely creative and endless music source. So, here we have the 70's unique aristocratic prog rock with no leaps and bounds.

So, 'Mother Turtle' is the eponymous debut studio album of Mother Turtle and was released in 2013. The line up on the album is Kostas Konstantinidis (lead and backing vocals and guitars), Giorgos Theodoropoulos (piano, synthesizers and sampling), Kostis Hasopoulos (bass and fretless bass) and Giorgos Mpalats (backing vocals and drums).

It seems to me that Mother Turtle is a band that has a fairly wide interest in music, and that they seek to incorporate as many of them as possible into their compositions. Their compositions are structurally fairly advanced and are pleasant enough overall to listen, with some fine individual sequences explored generally in a context that manage to maintain the tension well enough all over the album. The use of contrasting sequences gels in a good manner and the flow isn't disrupted. The abrupt transitions that sometimes come across, are logical to follow and don't break the momentum.

Their sound is an amalgam of influences from the classic era of the 70's, mostly relying on heavy prog and guitar rock. Basically, they explore similar landscapes as on the first compositions, with vintage symphonic progressive rock akin to the likes of Camel, alternating with harder edged guitar or guitar and organ driven sequences that at the most intense takes on qualities comparable to the likes of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, with some vibrant passages that in elements used may be said to be a tad closer to the likes of Rush thrown in for good measure. The general impression is of a band rather form of progressive rock from the past, but also a band that may well incorporate some details here and there from a somewhat more contemporary context as well, gentler neo- progressive details of a classic Marillion style first and foremost. In addition there's room for some jazz tinged details here and there as well, used in good effects.

Of the seven pieces, all are worthwhile listens. All over the album we have the sense that, although the musicians are working really hard, they are also having real fun. The playing is intense. Personally I'd say that everything combines in just about a perfect manner. For instance, on the instrumental piece 'Rhinocerotic', the first half of the track is a brilliant run through engaging themes and arrangements. Still, despite the freneticism of the all track, the vocals retain a lightness that offsets the riotousness of the music. Striking this balance well, as the band has done, is quite a great achievement. The climax is perhaps closer with the last track 'Attic', which displays a bold, electric sound, myriad shifts in time and tone, and striking vocals. We can also say that the guitar playing on the tune, absolutely shines. Also intriguing is 'God Games', where particularly the beginning and end sections sound like a classic jam band music, with in-your-face guitar and driving drums, but the mid section includes a brief spoken, sometimes yelled, religious lecture.

Conclusion: The musicianship founded on this album is a mix of classic prog rock and is excellent throughout. There are catchy guitar leads, retro sounding keyboards, punchy bass, vigorous drumming and dramatic, melodious, and seemingly tongue in cheek vocals, which are sung without any Greek accent, at times, evoking Geddy Lee. These guys have musical chops, and they want you to know that. The harder edged progressive rock of a vintage variety will probably be the facet of Mother Turtle, which defines them most profoundly, but as far as specific style is concerned, there's probably just as much material here with stronger ties to gentler varieties of classic prog rock. If you imagine a band that picks bits and pieces from Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Rush, and blends them into fairly sophisticated compositions with more of a Camel tinged direction, you should have an indication about what this album is all about.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Zea Mice by MOTHER TURTLE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 112 ratings

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Zea Mice
Mother Turtle Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After dropping the surprise bomb on me two years ago with their amazing "II"--a Top 10 Album of 2016 for me--I was super excited when Bandcamp notified me of this new release.

1. "Zea Mice part 1: Kukuruzu" (6:44) opens like a prog song with long-held buzzing solo synth and vocal samples from field recordings in Russian (?) before breaking into a hard-driving, engagingly-themed rocker. Reminds me of The D Project's "Shimmering Lights." Nice work from bass, drums, and saxophone. (8.5/10)

2. "Zea Mice part 1: #Cornhub" (8:06) solid foundational music over which several instrumentalists put on a great show: Alex Kiourntziadis' violin, Kostas Konstantinidis' acoustic and electric guitars, George Theodoropoulos' synths. I love the sound of George Baltas' metronomic snare! Marked down for being little more than a smooth jazz jam song. (9/10)

3. "Zea Mice part 2: Sea Mice" (6:53) a nice smooth jazz groove over which synths, electric guitar, and violin take turns at the fore. I like the violin solo and the tension of the final third the best. (8.75/10)

4. "Zea Mice part 2: Zeitenllik" (1:21) an ominous soundscape over which an obviously scary narration is performed . . . in Greek. (4/5)

5. "Zea Mice part 2: Vermins" (6:40) seems a continuation of "Sea Mice" with the same (or variation of the same) driving groove. The female vocalise of Elpida Papakosma range in sound from Ofra Haza's Persian "scatting" to Björkian Sugarcube-era sounds. Guitar and violin lead us into a thicker, faster section in the fifth minute. The final minute becomes more spacious and synthed, themed around a kind of James Bond riff. Nice tune. (9/10)

6. "Zea Mice part 2: Fourward" (1:57) North African drumming within which piano and synths sneak intermittent riffs. Cool! (4.5/5)

7. "Zea Mice part 3: Vermins (reprise)" (1:11) a stripped down, acoustic version of the Vermins theme? Pretty but I don't hear the similarity. (4.5/5)

8. "Zea Mice part 3: Nostos" (16:38) excellent hard-driving instrumental prog over a techno-synth rhythm track. The final third turns radically into some smoky lounge jazz. Excellent sound but . . . why? (9/10)

It's taken me a long, long time to get up to writing a review of this album--despite the fact that I've owned it for over half the year. There's just a lot of dense music--which is particularly challenging to critique with instrumental music. The quality of performances and "hooks" is high but I really miss the wonderful storytelling that the vocals and instruments did with the previous album.

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of instrumental progressive rock.

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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