Deaf Radio - Arsenal Of Hope (Self Released)
Athenians Deaf Radio are shapeshifters, over the course of three albums their sound has changed, while maintaining their core sound established on first album Alarm (2017). Their critically acclaimed debut put them down as one of the most exciting bands to come out of the Greek scene in years. With plenty of touring and high profile supports under their belts second album Modern Panic (2019) was even more acclaimed, taking this alt rock band to higher reaches, their sound evolving there. But on this 3rd album they take their music to another level again adding electronic music pluses, hip shaking dance thumps, gothic darkness with alt rock riffs and big hooks.
Crystal Fears and Havoc are great example of doing all of this as the electronic backbeat is met with fuzzy rock guitars, Havoc especially takes 80's synthwave and pairs it with gothy 80's post punk. The album was written during lockdown and the band credit this to their new experimental sound, the excessive amount of digital reliance now, inspiring the use of the electronic elements. In This War takes from Depeche Mode, while Bermondsly is very English, putting the twee lyrics of Syd Barrett with a repeating indie guitar line.
Openers Lisbon Hills and Supersonic are thumping synth rockers that sell the genre shift well, the album unfurling into a set of twitching, fuzzing electronic rockers. Still one of the names to watch on the Greek scene Deaf Radio's third album rips up any preconceived notion and refocuses them. 8/10
Doomocracy – Unorthodox (No Remorse Records)
Unorthodox is the third album by Cretan doom band Doomocracy (as if the name of the band didn't give away the genre). Having formed in 2011, this is their first album since 2017 released through seminal Greek metal label No Remorse Records. Their third album overall Unorthodox give you more of their atmospheric, progressive doom metal, in the style of Atlantean Kodex, Solstice or While Heaven Wept. They marry cinematic orchestral flourishes with more traditional doom riffs.
Michael Stavrakakis' vocals are brilliant soaring high in the classic metal style, a perfect fit for epic doom. Doomocracy's music here feels as if it's been worked on, tested and teased to bring the best sound they can, with chorals on Prelude To The Apocalypse just as important as the riffs of guitarists Angelos Tzanis and Harry Dokos. The symphonic parts of this album come from long time guest keyboard player Miguel Robania, broadening the sound of this record. For me though this album belongs to Michael and drummer Minas Vasilakis who is brilliant behind the kit, his marching percussion on the progressive Novum Dogma and more direct Eternally Lost the only track he doesn't appear on being Hidden Gospel which features a spoken word passage and Sakis Bandis of Hail Spirit Noir on piano.
It leads into The Spiritualist which is one of the best tracks here, Manolis Schizakis' grinding bass the hook for the trad metal grooves, as the two guitarists duel with their leads and solos. It's on Catharsis where they don't get to show off as that pleasure is given to Mercyful Fate/King Diamond guitarist Mike Wead. Dealing with religious dogma, death though on 14th October 1582 they don't talk about the phenomenon of the lost 10 days as it's an intro to the blasphemous title track. Coming just a week before new Candlemass, Doomocracy lay down a challenge to the grand masters to try and beat this absolutely excellent doom metal album. 9/10
The WaterStriders - My Name Is EXPECTATION (Old Habits Label)I'm not sure what to make of this, I knew Brit Pop had a wide reach but for some reason I didn't expect that Post-Punk, Modern Mod, Cool Britannia sound to be adopted by a Greek band. Although bands like The Smiths, Joy Division, Placebo and especially James are all huge there, to have a Greek band playing this style of music took me by surprise. However this is what Athens band The WaterStriders play a very distinct style of post-punk, mod style indie rock n roll with touches of American alt rock/grunge.