And then there were four. Naxatras expand on album IV.
Release Date: 25th February 2022
Label: Self released
In a not unpredictable bout of synergy, the fourth album (hence IV) from the Greek psychedelic proggers sees theme expanding their lineup into a quartet. The change is also heralded by a focus less on their traditional jam based workouts (if you’re familiar with earlier work) and on a more direct approach. Maybe. a little less fat but still dealing with quality musicianship and arrangements.
There’s a subtle ethnic thing going on from the off. as Reflection (Birth) heads out with a charged brightness, full of life and allowing the guitar and piano to take turns to shine. It’s the introduction of the keyboard presence of Pantellis Kargas that adds an element of subtle textures and the chance to indulge in creating more multi-layered orchestrations.
The heavier space rocking of Omega Madness recalls the freeform style – all those whizzes, whooses, zaps and grinding down on a repetitive riff that makes Hawkwind the leaders in the field are featured heavily. It’s a common theme that continues into Journey To Narahmon that merges some Floyd-style guitar with a haunting vocal from Evi Seitanidou. A quarter or so into the journey, you’ve been seduced by the new approach and can even cope with relaxing into a little bluesy diversion. Floating in a blue sky ambience, way above the world, the storm clears and calmness returns.
Ride With Time conjures thoughts of Amplifier’s Where The River Goes. A gentle tumble of guitar notes allows the tune to linger and brood with an easy vocal before the switch to a heavier but restrained guitar-led climax. The languid mood carries forward with the occasional diversion towards something from the Floyd book of licks.
We shift into the field of extended arrangements on The Battle Of Crystal Fields where an uplifting fanfare heralds and excursion into a swinging guitar dominated workout. Heavier moods and outer space sonics appear as they trademark centerpiece winds its way towards the ‘don’t forget the vocal part’ section and ultimately another Reflection. This time it’s subtitled Death_Rebirth, revisiting some of the Byzantine moods to bring IV full circle.
Simply put, IV is a really good album. Full of a powerful contorolled aura that’s hard to resist. Anyone new to Naxatras and hearing IV will be scuttling off to explore and discover the back catalogue