Naxatras – IV (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 51:43 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Stoner Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Evening Star
Celebrated Greek progressive psych band NAXATRAS have awoken once again with a mesmerising new album IV. It sees the band move away from their traditional analogue trademarked sound to something more precise and multilevelled. This has given them the ability to explore the outer limits of their psychedelic world, allowing for the band to expand from a trio to a quartet with the recruitment of keyboardist Pantelis Kargas. Showing a greater focus on songwriting, musicianship, and composition, IV is the band’s most ambitious release to date, with tighter performances and finely crafted arrangements. Drawing upon their 1970s prog rock influences and master songwriters of esoterica, NAXATRAS offer up gentle and intricate psychedelia that will help you drift off into a kaleidoscopic and clement world of colours.
The immediate and most notable feature of this album is the contributions of the synths and keyboards. By comparison to their previous effort III, IV sounds much more expansive and expressive, helping the band express emotions that they previously weren’t able to. When you’re deep in the psychedelic haze of the album, it does truly feel like you’ve been whisked away by fairies that inhabit toad stool circles, destined to become lost in this mushroom-induced magic.
With this in mind, it is also easy to pin point the influences behind some of the songs. Predominately influenced by PINK FLOYD, Jimi Hendrix, Steven Wilson and OZRIC TENTACLES, the band’s multi-layered approach to IV’s songwriting feels more streamlined and structured compared to their previous jam-band style ventures. This feels like a band at the beginning of a newly found creative peak; NAXATRAS utilise every ounce of their songwriting experience to push themselves to their creative limit. While vocals are still kept to a minimum, we hear a new side to John Delias’ and John Vagenas’ voices. Standing much more in the foreground, there is a more emotive feel that resonates with your soul.
One of the best ways to describe this album would be as a flower garden, constantly shifting with new blooms and blossoms of radiant colour whilst swaying in a summer breeze. You can feel the sun’s rays beating down on you as you sit amongst them in a summer daze. It is ultimately uplifting and relaxing music that you can so easily get lost in. The melodies and harmonies feel so vivid and bright whilst constantly evolving throughout the album, moving away from the band’s dingier, more blues and riff orientated style. The vibe of the psychedelic 70s is very much at the album’s core.
The stand out track on the album is the simply exquisite Journey To Narahmon. Combining all their influences into one masterfully created track that builds tension from the start before bursting into life with a colourful supernova. The added enchantment of featured artist Eva Seitanidou’s vocals sends chills down your spine. Radiant Stars offers a hybrid Hendrix/PINK FLOYD style wah pedal action which provides and upbeat relief after the motion packed The Answer. Reflection (Death/Rebirth) blends melancholy with towering synth drones as if you were just passing through the final phase of your spiritual journey. Omega Madness takes you on a spiralling adventure through a trippy time vortex as synths, vocal samples and guitar licks swirl around you underpinned by a rooted, groove-laden bass line.
All this action culminates in the album’s final track, Shape Of The Evening, as everything is boiled down into a Planet Caravan style moment of reflection. The acoustic and slide guitars bring into play the first real mediterranean influence to the album, as it explores the more modal aspects of the guitar whilst placing you on the warm but turbulent Greek coast.
With an album like IV, it is impossible to take it all in on a first listen. However, this album is incredibly inviting and you will discover more and more with each play through. This new direction for NAXATRAS is exciting, as they bring influences from the prog and psychedelic scenes together to create an intriguing and cathartic amalgamation of colourful, kaleidoscopic sound.
1-1. Naxatras – Reflection (Birth) (04:36)
1-2. Naxatras – Omega Madness (06:50)
1-3. Naxatras – Journey to Narahmon (06:06)
1-4. Naxatras – The Answer (05:44)
1-5. Naxatras – Ride with Time (03:03)
1-6. Naxatras – Radiant Stars (03:15)
1-7. Naxatras – Horizon (06:54)
1-8. Naxatras – The Battle of Crystal Fields (08:46)
1-9. Naxatras – Reflection (Death & Rebirth) (02:38)
1-10. Naxatras – Shape of the Evening (03:47)