Review Erik Neuteboom
Website info. “The Greek psychedelic rock band Naxatras (from Thessaloniki) have been well into the first decade of their existence and a significant number of milestones
has been accomplished. After 3 full length albums that established them in the global underground as a force to be reckoned with, a new approach emerged in the most natural way. The Naxatras identity as a predominant jam band came to be challenged from within
and a few of these traces of tunes finally found their way back into the game. Combined with the maturity and artistic savviness that time and extensive touring brings, the new music clicked with some of that old material and shaped the way this new era sounds
like. The focus right now is on the actual song, on the solid build-up of musicianship and composition, that draws magic from the classic 70’s prog rock and the master songwriters of history. On March 31st the band will start a 4 week European tour,
visiting countries like Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands. The current Naxatras line-up features John Delias ( guitar and vocals), John Vagenas (bass and vocals), Kostas Charizanis (drums and percussion)
and Pantelis Kargas (keyboards and synthesizers).”
I am not familiar with their previous 3 albums but reading about the band I understand that this is interesting space rock, and the addition of a keyboard player is a boost to this fourth album.
Well, from the very first moment I love Naxatras their space rock sound, wow! The hints are obvious, from Seventies Pink Floyd and Hawkwind to Porcupine Tree and Riverside, but Naxatras succeed to blend these inspirations with strong musical ideas and lots
of variety. The focal point is the guitar player, he has the sound and intensity of David Gilmour, but not derivative, pretty impressive. In the opener Reflection a sitar-like sound in a sultry atmosphere (blended with piano and tablas). In Journey to Narahmon
compelling and hypnotizing space rock in the vein of Hawkwind and Steve Hillage (the interplay with the keyboards evoke Riverside). In The Answer a Floydian guitar intro with soaring strings and finally an intense guitar solo with howling runs. In Radian Stars
(this could have been a The Wall track) he switches from funky rhythm guitar to an exciting solo with biting wah wah that sounds like “Hendrix meets Gilmour”. In The Battle Of Crystal Fields and Reflection (Death & Rebirth) an exciting blend
of psychedelia and space rock. And finally folky acoustic guitar and slide guitar in the dreamy and hypnotizing closer Shape of the Evening.
As I stated earlier the keyboard player is a boost for the band, he delivers very tasteful and varied contributions,
from tender classical piano play, delicate electric piano runs and spacey synthesizer beeps and bleeps to soaring strings, pitchbend driven synthesizer flights and compelling organ waves.
The rhythm-section does a good job, they meander with the right
dynamics and accents through the mellow and more powerful compositions.
What a very pleasant first musical encounter, this band has a huge potential, highly recommended to progheads who are up to space rock. And check out the Naxatras tour dates, I
wish I could see this band, perhaps a live album from their European tour will follow this strong fourth effort?
230422 (Saturday) Podium Grounds, World Music & Dance Centre. Pieter de Hoochweg,
More tour dates here: https://www.naxatras.gr/tour