This is my first musical encounter with Greek prog since I listened to Aphrodites Child, PLJ Band and Akritas in the late Eighties. The musical brainchild of the Methexis project is multi-instrumentalist Nikitas Kissonas (guitar, bass and keyboards, along composer, arranger and producer) following his need in 2011 to record material he had gathered throughout the years while being a member of alternative Greek bands such as Verbal Delirium and Yianneis. The debut album The Fall Of Bliss was released at the same year and Nikitas Kissonas played most of the instruments. Three years later new material was composed recorded, together with musicians of the new prog generation: from Joe Payne (ex-The Enid), Linus Kåse (Änglagård, Brighteye Bison) and Nikos Zades (Yianneis, Mother 'n Son) to Walle Wahlgren (Agents Of Mercy, Lalle Larsson). The second album Suiciety was released in 2015 and, like The Fall Of Bliss, an independent production. For a new direction in 2016 Nikitas Kissonas joined forces with Mampre Kasardjian (bass), Haris Botsis (keyboards) and Theodore Christodoulou (drums) turning Methexis into a four piece formation, but already one year later Methexis went down to a power trio, performing all around Greece. In 2018 Methexis released its third album entitled Topos, it is instrumental and for the first time also on vinyl.
About making music in Greece. “Nowadays it is easier to make an album thanks to today's technology, even collaborate through the internet! But the problems come with doing concerts. And you need an audience for this. Unfortunately Greece's prog audience isn't vast so we have to limit ourselves in few gigs. It is also difficult to do rehearsals because everyone is working the whole day or doesn't have a job so they don't have money to pay a rehearsal studio or even transport. Touring is expensive both in Greece and even more trying outside Greece because of heavy airport taxes. Making music is cheap nowadays but trying to put out a CD or even more on vinyl and distribute it is expensive. It all comes down to the matter of cost and the fact that for rehearsals, making music and doing concerts I end up paying way more than receiving. The same goes to all independent groups. At least in Greece.” (Nikitas)
About the press reactions. “Well, in a nutshell, they didn't notice The Fall Of Bliss, they received Suiciety well (thanks to Joe Payne) and I feel that the reaction for Topos is quite numb so far. It makes sense because it is a quite difficult album compared to the previous two, but I will have to wait and see the worldwide reactions when it will grow into the listeners.” (Nikitas)
Topos 1 (19:28) : This first epic composition contains several very short parts that range from hypnotizing sound collages to experimental musical landscapes. But my focus is on the longer parts, what a captivating and adventurous blend of prog, jazz, metal and jazzrock, these musicians love to scout musical boundaries: the one moment heavy guitar riffs with lush Hammond organ or fiery electric guitar and jazzy piano, the other moment a sumptuous church organ interlude, then a mellow atmosphere with trumpet and xylophone and finally a swinging rhythm with trumpet. Or first soaring Mellotron violins in a menacing climate, gradually turning into'organized chaos' with heavy guitar and thunderous drums. That element can also be heard in the final part of this composition, first dreamy with trumpet and synthesizer runs, then a staccato Hammond sound and propulsive drum beats and finally again that 'organized chaos' (with fiery guitar and a bombastic atmosphere), once a King Crimson trademark between 1970 and 1975.
Topos 2 (20:52) : This second epic composition also delivers a lot of variety, adventure and surprising musical ideas. From mellow with piano and acoustic guitar to a slow rhythm with flute and soaring keyboards. And from experimental with fat synthesizer flights and trumpet to a swinging rhythm with a mandolin sound. The final two parts are my personal highlights in this album. Part Four starts with tender piano and flute, then a slow rhythm with trombone, soaring keyboards and piano, culminating halfway in splendid guitar solo, evoking Jan Akkerman in his best Focus days, very powerful and compelling. The conclusion delivers a sparkling piano solo, what unique prog music! The final Part Five is even more exciting: a tight beat, powerful rock guitar and distorted electric guitar runs, gradually the music turns into heavy and bombastic (a dark undertone, like King Crimson on Red) with biting electric guitar and a thunderous rhythm-section. The closing section is another fine surprising musical idea by Metexis: a swinging rhythm with piano and trumpet .... yes, this band loves to be a musical Pandora's Box!
If you like the 1970-1975 experimental side of King Crimson, or the varied and adventurous sound of current Italian prog band DAAL, or you are up to scouting the many borders within prog, this is an album to discover.
Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2019