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Tuesday 6 December 2022

Reviews: Euphrosyne, Mother Turtle, Valiant Sentinel, Vile Species (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Euphrosyne - Keres (Dry Clean Records)

A 29 minute, 7 song journey into the darkest reaches of the psyche, Keres is the new EP from Greek post black metal act Euphrosyne, setting the tone for the record with the dramatic, sax filled misanthropic aura that leads itself into Pale Days, the first song proper where you can get more of an idea what Euphrosyne do as a band. 

Mixed and mastered by Septicflesh guitarist Psychon, the Greek extreme metal legends an influence to this music as much as Solstafir, Deafhaven and Møl. They don't rely on their influences too much though as they though as Euphrosyne have the same experimental sound favoured by Harakari From The Sky, each track using multiple genre styles to keep the listener entertained and never too sure what will come next. When My Fears Conquered All for example is black metal blastbeats from Kostas Mamalis and tremolo picking from Alex Despotidis one moment and then grooving modern metal from bassist George Gazis the next, vocalist Efi Eva switching seamlessly between spectral cleans, powerful choruses and blood curdling roars. 

She is conducting her metal ritual of bleakness and despondency as the crushing riffs of tracks such as Sister Of Violence bring death metal propulsion, guitar solos (there's a fair few of these) and also orchestral/choral arrangements to swell that sound, the melodious ambiance of Sunbringer washing away the gloom for one moment before Within The Ages brings back the intensity for a moment until it shifts into the spectral part towards the middle of the song. 

With this kind of progressive leaning, there's a sax solo here, the fires of Euphrosyne's Devilry burn with lustre on Keres. Exhilarating and masterful, I want more asap. 9/10

Mother Turtle - MT V (Self Released)

Prog like this is often the reserve of British/Canadian/North American bands, but this band from Thessaloniki have taken a revolving door of vocalists to step behind the mic of their fifth studio album. Initially formed as jam band called Hogweed their sound has changed throughout the years as they settle mainly on the style of prog rock that has been a staple of Tiles, Presto Ballet and even some Rush. 

The main members of the band are Kostas Konstantinidis on guitars, guitar-synth, George Baltas on drums, George Filopelou on bass, keyboardist George Theodoropoulos and Babis Prodromidis on saxophone and as I said they have a different singer in each of the songs, from the rocky vocals of Tryfon Baitsis on The Great Unknown, to the QOTSA drawl of Mars Blackbird on Suicidal Hornets, each singer brings their defined style to the song they appear on, menacing that the talented instrumentalists have to compose to match them (or perhaps the other way around). 

Still with some oddness on Always A Waterfall (vocals by Moss Doe) while Jon Voyager is the Bowie-like singer on the 7 minute Reasons. Meliana Karta gives a breathy performance on the atmospheric Aura. Due to the collaborative nature, Mother Turtle are difficult to categorise as a band and other than use the word progressive there's too many other genres on offer. Bystander Effect highlighting the use of sax and Chrysa Tsaltabasi's vocals. 

As Alex Kiourntziadis' violins brings additional virtuosity, the striking Open Veins steals a little from Kashmir and has Cons Marg on the mic, after the long instrumental opening as the post-grunge sound of a band like Creed makes Last Reverie a muscular last song Panos Doucas doing the crooning here. MT V is an ambitious heavy prog rock record which uses the idea of multiple vocalists well. A name I'd not heard of but will be checking out more from. 7/10

Valiant Sentinel - Valiant Sentinel (No Remorse Records)

Formed as a project for guitarist/composer Dimitris Skodras, Valiant Sentinel is a power metal project where Skodras plays all of the bands music, drums are programmed I believe. Teaming up with Swedish vocalist Rob Lundgren for the majority of songs, this self titled debut album is driven by Skodras' love and respect for classic power metal and symphony metal. 

The styles of the more epic bands such as Rhapsody Of Fire and Blind Guardian are what are used here with the galloping Victorious getting things going while Destiny Awaits brings the more speed metal style of Primal Fear and Beyond Fear. With such comparisons in the music it's probably not a surprise that Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire) features on the folksy Forelorn while Tim 'Ripper' Owens (Priest/Beyond Fear) gives his scream to King In The North which is based on Songs Of Ice And Fire by George RR Martin. 

These big time special guests give Valiant Sentinel added kudos but I'm very impressed with Rob Lundgren's vocals set perfectly to Skodras' music. With a second album on the way, it'll be interesting to hear if there's more progression, than just solid power metal. 7/10

Vile Species - Against The Values Of Civilisation (Chaos & Hell Productions)

15 songs, 22 minutes, yeah it's grindcore folks this four piece play violent, flesh ripping grindcore that has no nuance, no melody just razor sharp guitar riffs, screamed vocals and lots of noise. The debut full length from this Athens band is a rager with a faster antagonistic, nihilistic and unstoppable style of music that if you're not a grindcore fan you won't see anything in. However if Languish, Napalm Death and Terrorizer get your blood pumping then Against The Values Of Civilisation will have you circle pitting in your front room and punching the nearest authority figure. 6/10

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