C O L U M N S
Tales from the Jugular
Greek Mania! - Bands and Labels
On the map Greece is located at the South-East of Europe and it has borders with Turkey at the east, Bulgary and Albania at the north, and with Italy at the West.
On the metal map, Greece's metal stylings are located South-East of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and it has borders with German power metal at the east, Swedish and Finnish metal at the north, and a good amount of Europ prog sitting at its west.
Sure, I know it is a stretch to the imagination but Greece is really becoming a heavyweight contender for the heavy metal crown. With both Sweden and Germany slowly falling from the ranks, countries like Finland and Greece are working their way up the rungs, climbing a metal ladder to world acceptance and prosperity. Greece has always been a contender in their own right, but personally I have never found anything to really grasp onto there. For years I dwindled away trying to locate underground sensations from both Germany and Sweden. Anyone who knows me will understand that we are talking about traditional metal here not corpse painted war mongers poking each other with sharp spears. Now with my time spent at Maximum Metal, I am starting to really grasp a more global understanding of where the "hot spots" are located in regards to up and coming metal talent.
With that being said, I want to give you a brief look at some of Greece's finest young guns. Some of these bands have been around for years, and some you may be just scratching your head over. My main goal with this list, and most of my lists in general, is to bring to the forefront some of metal's unsung heroes, those defining crafts that seem to float along in deep space with little to no exposure whatsoever. I have really started to rally behind these bands, and as I have mentioned earlier, I think Greece is really starting to show a lot of promise. So I present to you my top fifteen list of great, young Greece bands that really need your ears and support.
1. POWERCRUE - http://users.hol.gr/~powercrue/
This Athens group is my favorite band from this scene. The group have released gems with "The Sign Of Rage" and "Stay Heavy". Musically, Powercrue resemble German power metal, with obvious influences being Running Wild, Rage, and Grave Digger. The first album, "The Sign Of Rage", closely resembled that style but the group's follow-up "Stay Heavy" tried to add a bit of Bay Area Thrash to the sound. Both albums were a tremendous success and helped solidify the band as an underground metal talent. Look for a new album from Powercrue in 2005!
2. DREAM WEAVER - http://www.truemetal.org/dreamweaver/
I finally got the opportunity to hear Dream Weaver last year. I reviewed their debut album, "Words Carved Within", and was just delighted to hear such a talented young band. Bands like Iced Earth and Running Wild come to mind when listening to "Words Carved Within", but the band also use some modern effect as well, sparking the attention from fans of Symphorce and Brainstorm. With only one release under their belt the future looks very bright for these guys.
3. MARAUDER - http://www.marauder.gr
You would think after releasing five quality albums Marauder would be talked about a bit more. But unfortunately the band still remain firmly in the underground. This band really showcases a ton of potential, improving their sound album after album. With last year's release of "Life" the group have finally matured and reached that level of perfection. The band create driving traditional metal built on classy chops, Helloween styled speed, and songwriting in the vein of Edguy and Hammerfall. This is just an excellent band that really needs more exposure!
4. PHANTOM LORD
I just can't seem to locate much information on this band. One listen to the group's "Evil's Domain" record secured their spot on this list. The band play fantastic melodic speed metal in the style of Finnish bands such as Stratovarius. At times the band have a basic foundation of traditional speed metal, but mix in progressive power metal elements that really help add more dimension to the band's sound. A phenomenal band that more people need to hear. Vocalist Vasilis Axiotis has shown up on the debut album from Greece guitar warrior Overlord.
5. BLOODSTAINED - http://www.bloodstained.tk/
Modern power metal warriors in the vein of older Jag Panzer. This band took the world by storm with their release of "Greetings From Hell". I'm looking for bigger and brighter things from these guys as time goes by.
6. LOST FATE - http://www.secretport.com/
Fans of Finnish and Brazilian progressive power should really enjoy this melodic romp, with the band showcasing a unique sense of melody that only veterans of the business seem to possess. The group released their debut album last year through Secret Port Records, home of Dream Weaver.
7. NOCTA - http://www.nocta.org/
This Athens band are brand spanking new! Their debut album is scheduled to hit shelves in March of 2005. These guys have released a few demos along the way which landed the band a small contract with Sleazy Rider. Musically this group is just incredible, sort of like a bluesy, doomy version of Megadeth with plenty of power metal stylings thrown in. This could be an underdog to land in my top five of the year. Play this band, read about this band, email these guys, tell the stores you want this album!
8. CASUS BELLI - download.com/casusbelli
Hailing from Athens, Casus Belli play traditional power metal with some modern overtones. The band's vocalist was actually in Judas Priest's top twenty five vocalists to replace Rob Halford. Great band that only has one album under their wings. Along with Dream Weaver, Lost Fate, and Nocta, Greece is showing off a lot of rookie metal talent.
9. CELESTIAL ODE - http://welcome.to/celestialode
This band hasn't recorded a full length album yet, but they showcased a ton of talent and potential on their 2001 self-titled EP. The group are in the same vein as Eidolon, Iced Earth, and even Angel Dust. I'm looking for big things out of this group soon!
10. ELWING - http://www.elwingband.cjb.net/
Looking for a new album from these guys this year. The band really set the underground on fire with "Immortal Stories", released through Cult Metal Classics in 2002. Sort of like a good mixture of German speed and power. Running Wild meets Blind Guardian perhaps.
11. STRIKELIGHT - http://www.strikelight.net
Excellent new band in the style of Maiden and Tokyo Blade.With their debut record available through Eat Metal Records this year hopefully the band will pick up a few more ears. This is a great group that really captures the glory of early NWOBHM bands.
12. OVERLORD'S PERPETUAL - www.sonicagerecords.com
This 21 year old axe God from Athens could be compared to the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen. Overlord's Perpetual is the new group founded by this young talent. With their debut album this six string superhero leads the charge with blistering solos and fantastic melodic playing.
13. RAGING STORM - www.truemetal.org/ragingstorm
Awesome young band that has two releases under them, one on Eat Metal and another through Metal Fighters. Think of strong German traditional metal with poweful vocals and razor sharp riffs.
14. VALOR - http://www.valor.gr/
Great old school epic metal that recalls the fine moments of Ostrogoth, Warlord, and Manilla Road. The band has released one EP, "Nameless One", through Eat Metal Records. These guys should be huge!
15. ORION'S REIGN - http://22.214.171.124/~OrionsReign/geniko.html
Really good fantasy metal with a big melodic approach. For fans of Labyrinth and Rhapsody. Should really start to catch on with the fantasy metal movement being at its peak. These guys are very talented musicians.
Other bands to look for are Windfall, Horizon's End, Dream Devoid, Pandemonium, Litany, Dark Nightmare, Crystal Clear, Clairvoyant, Divorce, Suicidal Angels, and Vice Human.
GREEK RECORD LABELS
Black Lotus Records - http://www.black-lotus-recs.com
One of the few progressive labels in Greece.
Eat Metal Records - http://www.eatmetalrecords.com
Great power metal roster hosting groups like Strikelight, Valor, Brocas Helm, and Litany.
Secret Port Records - http://www.secretport.com
Great power metal label that is home to bands like Lost Fate, Dream Weaver, and Theodore Ziras.
Sonic Age Records - http://www.sonicagerecords.com
Probably my favorite label in Greece, spinning off from the legendary Cult Metal Classics. Sonic Age has released quality records from the likes of Overlorde, Valkija, and Made Of Iron.
Steel Gallery - http://www.steelgallery.com
Seasoned label that has released gems from the likes of Dream Devoid, Horizon's End, Windfall, and Mutiny. Home of bands such as Mutiny, Windfall, Horizon's End, and Dream Devoid.
[Other Maximum Metal Columns]
RANDOM ACTS OF METAL