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Stories from the Aegean Part II


It is the first article on our blog in 2019! I hope you have a great year! Also, I can't believe that the first part of our "Stories from the Aegean" has been read for more than 110 times on only 24 hours! So, you are somehow ready for this part, and you are somehow want to know which bands are on the list!



Before starting the list! We need a powerful WARMING UP!!! So! Please Welcome our dear friend and brother on the other side on the Mediterranean Vassilis Mazaris.


Vassilis Mazaris

Vassilis Mazaris is a popular Metal Hammer Greece Editor/Contributor and he is so close to a big number of Greek Metal musicians. He is also Greek Heavy Metal band Daylight Misery's vocalist 

We had a rich talk with Mazaris about many topics related to the Greek Metal Scene. First of, he reviewed his opinion about the Metal scene in the country through 2018. He mentioned, "“Well, the Greek metal scene is getting bigger and bigger within the years. 

Now most of the releases are characterized by quality and the productions are great as well. We also have many bands touring around the world and I don't mean the universal bands like Rotting Christ, Septicflesh and Firewind. 2018 was a good year for the Greek metal scene and I hope 2019 will be even better.”

As Many of you hear about the serious economic crisis in Greece that's why we asked Mazaris about the impact of this crisis on the Metal industry in Greece. 

He explained, I think that economic situation is something global right now but countries like Greece or Portugal have the most serious problems. Iceland used to be affected by the economic situation as well with capital controls but after some years they made it. You can see the effects of the crisis everywhere, not only in metal music industry.


He added, “Many shops are closing every day, if you don't have a job it's a struggle to find a new one and even if you manage to find, you may have to work for 8 to 10 hours per day for like 500 euro max. 

As for the metal industry, it is real hard to keep your band alive because you have to spend money and time on that and if you live in a country like Greece, you have to be strong and do many sacrifices in order to make it. There are many bands with potential here but they only release one album because it's really hard to record the second "


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Next, he commented on our question of the domination of certain Metal sub-genres in the Greek Metal Scene. 



He said, “I don't think there is one. There is variety and this is something great. You can find Death and Black metal bands and at the same time you can have many Heavy and Power Metal bands. 

We also have some great Thrash metal bands.  And I like it. It would be boring if there would be only Death or Black Metal groups for example.

Regarding his career as Metal Reviewer/Editor and musician, he expressed, “I wouldn't say it is a career. I just do something I love and I can keep my mind busy doing something I like. There is always a good relation between bands and reviewers and I have many good friends because of that.”

Then, we asked him about what are the best Greek Metal bands in 2018 based on his experience.

Well I don’t want to name some but if I had to choose I would say Rotting Christ The Slayer kingVarathron and KawirBut we are lucky enough to have many great and hard working bands and I am sure 2019 will be a year full of awesome releases from the Greek metal scene,” Mazaris answered.

Finally, he told us about his relationship with the Middle East, To be honest I am not very familiar with that specific metal scene but I know some bands like Svengali from Dubai, Nervecell from Dubai as well, Scarab from Egypt, Kimaera from Lebanon and Lelahell from Algeria. 

I also like some bands with middle eastern influences in their music like Orphaned Land and Myrath. And Nile of course with the Greek drummer George Kollias,” Mazaris revealed.

After this great warming up, be ready for the list because it is more extreme than the previous one! 

Varathron

There is no a Greek Black Metal fan on Earth didn't hear the name of the iconic Greek Black Metal icons Varathron. They are one of the earliest Greek Black Metal warriors alongside Rotting Christ.

Varathron is founded in 1988 and had a massive discography. 2018 was so active as the band headlined many events in whole Europe including their homeland Greece. Also, the band performed in New York city. And, Varathron released a new album entitled “Patriarchs of Evil”



Stefan Necroabyssious answered our questions

First of, we liked to know how the legendary Varathron saw the Greek Metal scene in 2018. Necroabyssious expressed, "Hail my friend! Well I think the Greek metal scene is better than ever! You know the last 5-6 years lot of bands resurrected” from the ashes and rise again through the glorious paths! Our scene is one of the great around the world! Believe me!!!"

Then, we moved to what are the Hardships that Varathron faced 30 years ago as Metal band in Greece. He described, "When we started, the problems were many and much harder when comparing to the problems that bands are facing now!"

He added, "We had to fight” against society, police and other social problems. We were outcasts for the society and the war” was a normal situation. 

Also, we had a lot of technical problems. The studios were few in Athens and the sound engineers were nothing across the Black metal music and the extreme genre

You know we made everything with hard work; all the covers, flyers, t-shirts and more than you can imagineNowadays a lot of things are much easier!!! Internet is a great help and the bands need only to create good music! 

Really, sometimes I think that these hard times made us faithful warriors that were fighting only for the best results!!! We were not compatible with moderation!"





Moving to Varathron 2018 achievements: their new album, and their various events.  Necroabyssious explained, "The last album is the mirror of us. Well, we have our 30th anniversary!!! We had ideas, and riffs. So, we thought of releasing something that gives our history and existence mark.

 That's why we let the riffs coming and the songs were built” day by day. The results were amazing and we loved these songs from the first listen. Besides Varathron is a old-school band, a band who started this unique Greek Black metal sound, something that we are and will follow forever. 

Now, we need to show the path to others. You ask me for influences. This is our past history. I think is wiser to evolve but never forget the first steps that brought you here! So this is the result from our last manifest. Our new opus has received glorious reviews from zines around the world and many proposals for live-shows around the world. 2019 is a perfect year for us; we will travel far away with glorious tours and numerous shows around the world!!!!"






Next, we asked them if they are on contact with African or Middle Eastern Metal bands. He said, "I know only a few bands from there. ARALLU is one of them; great friends. We would like to play there to spread the disease, discover the Metal scene and meet more bands!!! We want to get the chance one day to perform on your land!"

Finally, Necroabyssious revealed to us some of Varathron's 2019 plans. He expressed, "As I told you many-many shows around the world. We have two great tours planned until now, one in South Asia and one in South America!!!! Beside that we have so lots of fests from May until the end of 2019!


Decemberance

Decemberance is another legendary Greek Doom Metal name. 2018 witnessed the 20th anniversary for the band on the stage of The Room of Doom, Athens.



Yiannis Filippaios (Decemberance Vocalist) answered our questions 

We started with Decemberance participation at the first Doom Metal Festival in Greece, The Room of Doom. Filippaios expressed, “It was not the first attempt for a Doom festival but i can assure you that it was the first time things were so professionally organized and executed."

 It was an amazing festival with all the band's helping to achieve the best possible result, and no one was a so called Diva. Just work, respect, and anyone focused to the main purpose. 

Of course Spyros Hondroyiannis, the main man of the fest and Jim Kotsis the "venue guy" had the leadership, and anything went well. Backstage was a chaos...hehehe..a creative chaos, trying to have everything on spot. But lots of fun.




Regarding the Greek Doom Metal Scene, he added, “Doom Metal I think always was not so popular genre. It is too personal to comprehend and you have to give hours to dig into it. 

Things cannot change through years. It still is an outcast. And I speak about the Doom itself, not Sludge or Stoner music, which are very popular. But they are not Doom, even though it is considered like that. In Greece things are the same as the whole world.

Filippaios described 2018 for the Greek Metal scene “2018 was an amazing year for Greek Metal scene. I think that the last decade is very productive and with high standards...Artistically and technically. All the genres are growing and the results are quite interesting.


Then, we asked him about Decemberance 2019 plans. “2019 for us, Decemberance, will be a creative year. We gather ideas, lots of them, and we are going to compose the next album so in 2020 we can publish it. Of course, strictly Doom/Death metal, the Decemberance way,” he said. 




Filippaios finalized his talk with us by revealing his favorite Greek Metal releases.

Here are my all time favourite Greek Metal release top 3.
1. Horrified - In the garden of the uneartly delights (1994)
2. Dead Congregation - Promulgation of the Fall (2014)
3. Septic Flesh - Esoptron (1995)

Dimlight

Dimlight is not only a popular band in Greece, but also in Egypt. In addition, Dimlight members are almost brothers and sister on the other side of the Mediterranean for mostly of Egyptian Metalheads. When I told Dimlight’s vocalist Mora and Guitarist Nikolas Perlepe about the idea of the article, they helped me a lot.

2018 was a very successful year for the band. They released 2 new albums: Realm of Tragedy and Kingdom of Horrors. Also, announced their new vocalist Mora, participated in some concerts in Greece and Headlined Metal Blast Festival in Egypt.



Dimlight’s vocalist Mora answered our questions.

I started with Mora by asking her about her experience in Egypt and with Metal Blast Festival team, “ My experience from those 3 days was simply amazing. You are all very generous and kind people and made us feel like home once more. The show was great and the fans were very warm. I was constantly getting a great vibe from the crowd!  





As for the places we visited, I simply have no words. The pyramids and the town were ecstatically beautiful. Those days will stay forever in my heart. 

I need to thank our dear friends Medic, Usama and his team, as they did the best they could for this show to happen, and lastly Menna Hossam for the awesome photo shoot we did during our visit!



She added, “Greeks and Egyptians have much in common. You can tell that by every aspect. Both are generous and welcoming people, and have many similarities in their lifestyle. As for the fans. They are both warm and interactive!

We asked her about how Dimlight prepared themselves for the show. She said, “The preparations for the show started right after the show was confirmed. Time was short and a bit stressful since we had many other preparations for the album release and our show in Athens” 




Then, Mora told us the story of their 2018 releases “Realm of Tragedy” and “Kingdom of Horrors”.

Kingdom of Horrors" is a concept album, telling the tale of a dark fantasy world where a man is driven to insanity and, at the breaking point of his heart and hope, finds himself willing to travel into Irkala Kar, the Underworld. There, he faces horrible monsters and, in the end, is forced to confront his own monstrous nature in order to escape.

 The album "The Realm of Tragedy" is a release fitting into the same concept, only telling a different side of the same story - that of the Upper world, the realm of the living, from whence the main character of the story begins his journey to the world Below.”





Regarding her point of view about the Greek Metal Scene in 2018, Mora expressed “The Greek Metal scene has many new talented artists and powerful bands, plenty enough  for every musical taste. 

Most of these are unfortunately "hidden" in the underground scene. Highly promising and committed to their work, they could achieve great success, if only they are consistent, patient and make the right moves during these difficult times.

She finalized,  “Counting down the difficulties and obstacles  is really unnecessary. Of course, all artists have many problems. Having a band has great expenses, which is a major factor. 

Sometimes you have to run everything on your own and when it comes to choosing the right partners, it's also difficult. The human factor. 

The free market. The competition. Everything has different impact in any case. Me. I just try to stay focused on what I do and improve. Believing in our art is what makes me get through the obstacles and keep going.”

Poem

Poem is one of the celebrated Progressive Metal bands. Also, they are one of the most successful Progressives Metal bands in Greece. 2018 was a great year for Poem: new album “Unique” and various performances around the world.





Laurence Bergstorm answered our questions.

We started with Poem’s latest blooming album “Unique”, “2018 was a great year, that’s true! The concept of the album is related to a mad man that we people try to change, through medical prescriptions and other stuff like that. 

The mad man is a metaphor and we mean to underline that the society tries to change us, manipulate us, from everything that we are or we want to be, so that they can have control over our brains and bodies. 

Unfortunately, his is how the society works. It’s better to make sure that we’ll be divided (by we, we mean all people) by not accepting each other’s uniqueness, instead of being all together against the big heads. 

Regarding our music background, we really respect Pink Floyd, Tool, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, and so so many other artists and bands. Of course we are affected by the society and what’s happening around us.

He added, “The audience liked it very much, no complains!


This year, Poem performed in Armenia for the first time, Bergstorm expressed regarding this experience, “We had a great time in Armenia and the guys there were really friendly! Unfortunately it was raining very hard and we couldn’t perform the day that we were supposed to. 

However we had the opportunity to perform the very next day and of course that was nice. The other bands were of course polite and friendly – as most bands are! We grabbed a couple of beers together, it was fun!”




Bergstorm revealed to us his point of view about the Greek Metal Scene, “In Greece we have a great number of Metal and Rock bands and to be honest the level is very high. We have excellent bands and musicians! 

Don’t miss the opportunity to search a little bit the metal scene of Greece, you’ll be amazed. Generally we are good friends with many of them and we are always open for sharing our experiences with each other





Regarding the promoters, the rule is the same. If people respect each other and behave as professionals, everything is good!

He continued, “2018 was a good year, great releases, good tours and good gigs. We think that 2019 will be even better.

We asked him about Poem’s 2019 plans, “For sure we will have a new release before the end of 2019. Of course we want to play as much as we can and to tour as much as we can! It would be great if we could meet you in person next year! 

Bergstorm finalized his talk with us by revealing his favorite Greek Metal names and suggestions,It’s not just one. We’d suggest you a couple of bands though, not albums – if that’s ok with you.”

“If you have some time, we’d definitely suggest you to listen to Socrates Drank the Conium, Mother Of Millions, Need, Verbal Delirium, Mother Turtletardivedyskinesia…. They are so so many and so so good.


Ocean of Grief


Founded in 2014, Ocean of Grief is one of the most popular Greek Doom Metal bands. Its successful “Nightfall's Lament” reached to a lot of listeners in Europe, and the Middle East. Also, they participated in The Room of Doom and Metal Gates Festival in Romania.


Giannis Koskinas (Ocean of Grief Bassist) answered our questions.

We started with how 2018 was with Ocean of Grief, Koskinas expressed, 

2018 was a great year for us! We didn’t think it would end up that well since there were some obstacles that we knew beforehand (one of our members had to do his obligatory army service) but they didn’t seem to stop us after all.  Looking back at 2018 we can see good things happening for us and not that many drawbacks.



Moving to Ocean of Grief performance in Metal Gates Festival, he expressed, 

Metal Gates Festival was an amazing experience. The whole show was perfectly organized up until the very small details. The bands had everything they wanted backstage and onstage, while the stuff that was working there were always friendly and warm to every band

We have to thank every person who helped us when we needed to and especially Mihai Ilie for this fantastic organization. Romanian people were also awesome, we met plenty of them after the show and they were really welcoming and excited.Hope to return to Romania soon!




Then, we moved to their performance in Room of Doom and their relation with the Greek Doom Metal bands, Koskinas expressed, “Yea, the sad truth is that there are only a handful of doom bands in Greece. 

As a result though, we are really close to each other and we are planning on making the scene stronger than ever in order to make the genre shine in Greece as much as we can. 

The Room of Doom Festival was organized by a common friend (and as much passionate doom fan) of the bands and it is the first example of this union as it is aiming to rally all Greek doom fans to this special doom event once every year. We hope that it will be established as an annual event in the future.

Koskinas also expressed how the audience received Ocean of Grief’s music,To be honest, we didn’t expect people to show that much of interest when we played our songs live since it is a genre that takes time to consume and understand its meaning. 




We were really happy to realize that people were getting into our songs relatively fast as they were mentioning specific parts after our live shows. That was really cool!” He added.

Next, We asked him about Ocean of Grief’s 2019 plans.Our new album of course, there might be some live shows as well but our main focus is purely composing our next album,” Koskinas said.

Finally, we asked him about their favorite Greek Metal releases. He revealed, “That’s a tough question. Revolution DNA by Septicflesh has a special place in my heart.
But I will choose The Great Mass because I experienced its release myself. I recall going to the release party with Filippos, eager to listen to it for the first time and meet the band. It’s an amazing album in every aspect!




Automaton 

Automaton is one of the rising Greek Doom Metal bands. It is founded in 2011, and started to rock the stage in 2012. 2018 was a great year for Automaton as the band started to receive wide reviews from all over Europe for their new full length “Talos” in addition to having various live performances. 



Nicolas (Automaton Guitarist) and Lykourgos (Automaton Drummer) answered our questions.

We started with the story of Automaton album “Talos”

In the ancient Greek mythology Talos, was the archetype automaton: a metal giant roaming the island of Crete punishing the offenders and protecting the kingdom. In our album, which is a concept album loosely based on a modern Greek sci-fi novel (namely Talos, The terror from the past by Stylianos Moesides).

We explore the idea of Talos awakening in the modern era. In our story Talos rises from the sea and struggles to comprehend the modern world. He marches the land seeking to fulfill his quest and after a fierce battle of Talos against every form of injustice in the world, he (spoiler alert) slowly sinks back into the dark and abysmal ocean depths. 

The inequity and corruption of this world have perhaps proved too much, even for a demigod. This is the story of our album and we narrate it through a combination of music and lyrics.





Automaton is introducing distinctive combination of Doom Metal music, so we asked Nicolas about the main influences of their music.

We listen to various musical genres. I think we are influenced from everything that we have listened to, ranging from bands of the 70s psychedelic rock like Led Zeppelin, Hawkind and Pink Floyd to more modern bands like Neurosis, Yob and even bands like At The Gates or In Flames (to name a few favorites of our band members…)




As there are now popular Greek Doom Metal names as On Thorns I Lay and Ocean of Grief, so we asked him about their relation with Greek Doom Metal bands.

The metal scene, both mainstream and underground is quite active in Greece, with bands spanning through many genres within metal.  The ones that manage to get noticed are the ones that try to do something original and both the bands you refer to are doing that, for many years! Each has its own identity and a wide audience both in Greece and abroad so we are glad to be part of the same scene with bands as these,” Nicolas explained.

We were curious to know Automaton relationship’s with the Middle East. He added, “It is only recently, with our latest release that we have reached out to a number of people across the world so therefore we can’t really say that we have a relationship with Middle Eastern fans but we hope for one in the future.”





He added, “We have spoken with some people in Turkey that listen to our music and we have recently been invited to perform there. As far as Egypt (or other Middle Eastern countries) is concerned, we are aware of a just few musicians and heavy metal bands but we haven’t had any relationship whatsoever.

Next, Nicolas revealed Automaton plans for 2019. 
Just the typical plans of an underground band … Up to now, we have booked a few shows in different parts of Greece. We would also like to do a tour, preferably with another Greek band of our scene, and play some shows in Europe.”

Finally, he told us his favorite Greek Metal Release, “Dreamlongdead’s “Umbra”.

Celène

Celène is impressive Black Metal band. It is playing Atmospheric Black Metal band. 2018 was a happy year for Celène as they released a new full length “Rêves de November d’or”. To be honest, I found Celène’s album shared on some Middle Eastern Metal groups. 




Dionysus Maratos (Celène Guitarist) answered our questions. 



I asked Maratos about deciding playing Atmospheric/ Ambient Black Metal although the Metal Scene in Greece is more into Death, and Thrash ones.

Right, we have mostly death & thrash metal bands, I think that's because these genres are the most gig-friendly ones. 

They emit the intensity needed for people to headbang n'stuff. We ,on the other hand, as a band, tend to be less riff & groove oriented , and more melodic with musical phrases and a latent strength in occasional blast beats and bursts. 

It's not what we aim to make, but what emanates from within in this purpose. We could say that the sub genre chose us!” Maratos expressed.




Regarding the name of the band and their lyrical topics, Maratos answered, 

Our lyrical topics are a bit of ethereal and esoteric, according to our music. We are not making background music to be listened in parallel with stuff. Instead, every note and word has a reason and meaning. 

These are sounds that are preferably listened in the nocturnal hours, when you can think about stuff more thoroughly, and let your mind free. The hours that most of our songs were composed,and lyrics written, under the soft moonlight. 

The silent satellite that our ancestors named the goddess Σελήνη after, and thus our name derives.”




Moving to “Rêves de November d’or” story and its main influences,

The Story behind "Rêves de Novembre d'or" is about a descent into the realm of dreams and subconscious. 

The main character is suffering from self-controlled insomnia due to usual nightmares in the shape of untouched desires of the past. 

When he finally lays to sleep he finds himself in his dreams making a journey under a night sky. Admitting his hidden and latent feelings to himself and facing some night terrors regarding pessimism and death, he reaches a state of clarity, resting in a glade, under the branches of a tree,” Maratos said.




Then, he added, “A second vision/dream unravels where he meets his long gone platonic love and they have a dialogue, where he realizes he can only have her in his dreams. 

She tempts him to stay but he decides to face reality and leaves keeping their last real memory. Waking up from this is painful, the comprehension of his self imprisonment, the struggle to remove every fake belief and hope and the final goodbye , are exhausting. 

He then watches this season end, marking the end of an era. Wearied , lays down to rest , while gradually exiting the state of sleep. Our influences is the opera "Midsummer night dream" and the movie "Casablanca".


Then, I asked him about the charming style of Celène on the stage. 

Well, first of all Ania's vocals are crucial as they are ethereal. Usually in dialogue with harsh or narrative male vocals. Marianthi's Violin has a phrasal role in specific parts; solos , bridges or the main theme of a song. 

Ted's drums are sturdy but not excessive ; comprehensive with occasional bursts in critical points. 

Fok usually plays the heavier rhythms and metal solos, while I play more high-pitched rhythms and ambient solos,” Maratos highlighted.

Finally, he told us Celène favorite Greek Metal album. 

I'd say the whole band can settle between "Angeldust" from On thorns I lay and "A dead poem" by Rotting Christ.”

So guys, that was our second part of our series or articles about the Greek Metal Scene (Stories from the Aegean..Metal Stories from Greece)

Stay tuned for the upcoming part!

Note: To send your biography, media releases, new albums or to join our series, please send us via knight.dark10@yahoo.com or send a message via our page.

Written by: Rana Atef (The Metal Sister, Egypt’s Metal Reviewer, Metal Roos, JoScene, Jorzine, and Rock Era Magazine) (Egypt)


Cover Photo designed by: Lina Ardila (Independent Artist, Graphic Designer, and Tattoo Artist ) (Colombia)

Photos: I don't own the copyrights of the attached photos, I got them from the Bands' page :) for example: Dimlight Head photo copyrights are reserved for Talented Egyptian Photographer: Menna Hossam :) but Dimlight live photos I took them by myself :) 

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Egypt’s Metal Reviewer and The Metal Sister are two sister blog project established by Rana Atef a.k.a (DaRk~~KniGhT) in April 2018. She is aiming to provide the Middle East with professional and constructive Metal reviews. In addition, building a bridge with Middle Eastetn Metalheads and Western bands.

Plus, the blog is trying to build a unique Metal news exchange service between the blog and other western blogs, webzines, magazines and pages.


Also, the project is widely open for all bands from the whole world.

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