AKRITAS – Akritas

Akritas were a Greek band who produced one of the best ever progressive rock albums to come out of that country. Released in 1973, it is a concept album (but that needn’t bother you, as all the lyrics are Greek to me) spoken of with the same reverence as is given to Aphrodite’s Child’s classic ‘666’ album. Musically, though, this one owes much more to the giants of UK prog like ELP and Gentle Giant. The fourteen short tracks all flow seamlessly together to form a collected work of musical excellence. Highlights include the searing guitar on ‘Ta Paidia’, the sterling church organ on ‘Mnhmh’, and the guitar-work on ‘To Panhguri’. The final track ‘Zeta Zwrzeta’ combines heavy power chords and spooky sound effects over a rhythmic acoustic backing to end the album in a most individual way. Most of the tracks are instrumental, which means that the band have to express their ideas without the benefit of words, and this they do admirably with changes of tempo, style, and instrument. The album is certainly influenced by British progressive bands of the early 70’s, with little evidence that the band hail from Greece, apart from the few lyrics sung in their native language. This actually makes it much more accessible to a UK audience who might otherwise be put off by too much emphasis on ethnicity, and the result is an extremely fine progressive rock album that can be enjoyed by a much wider audience than is available to some of their country-mates. One to search out if you are into classic 70’s prog rock.