Sunday, October 01, 2023

Mother Turtle: Mother Turtle 2013 + II 2016 + Zea Mice 2018


Mother Turtle is a Greek progressive rock band that started as a jam studio band who take their cues

from nearly all aspects of progressive rock, a synergy of many ingredients tossed, fried, and served in sizzler style to make this a very tasty prog band. Mother Turtle was formed in Thessaloniki in 2011 and previously was known as Hogweed. The band members cite as their inspirations Frank Zappa, Rush, Camel, Genesis, Marillion, and many other prog rock legends.

Mother Turtle started as a jam band by musicians that were already very active, being involved

individually in several other music projects and doing live gigs on a weekly basis. But during those jam sessions, some solid musical ideas were developed and after a lot of rehearsing they evolved into songs. The band consists of Kostis HASOPOULOS (bass, backing vocals), Kostas KONSTANTINIDIS (guitar, vocals), George MPALTAS (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and George THEODOROPOULOS (piano, organ, synths, programming).

First live gig was under the name HOGWEED in April 2012. The name changed to MOTHER

TURTLE a little bit later and since they played various gigs, sharing the stage with fellow bands such as POEM, LAZY AFTERSHOW, 3-FOLD PAIN and also Swedish vintage heavy rockers SIENA ROOT in Athens in April 2013. The first self-titled 7-track album was released on 4th of October 2013 and was recorded, mixed and mastered from February to July 2013 in Sin City Studios, Thessaloniki by sound engineer Kostas Kofinas.

The band mixes successfully elements from symphonic, folk, neo- and heavy progressive with the latter

potentially standing out a bit clearer in their influences; they still though remain a band difficult to categorise and come highly recommended. Mother Turtle is perhaps the most mischievous and known progressive rock band from Greece nowadays. Surely it's one of the most representatives of the term 'progressive', without the strain it has been through for at least 20 years, and not just within borders, is global.

If there is an element independent of the exact musical content I'm looking for in a prog band, that's the

unpredictability. Mother Turtle have this element as a key part of their temperament and that was shown both on their self-titled debut studio album in 2013 and on their second one 'II' in 2016. Even within each album the different elements are many and even the basic direction isn't the same on the tracks.



Mother Turtle – Mother Turtle
Label: Not On Label (Mother Turtle Self-released) – none
Format:    CD, Album
Country: Greece
Released: Oct 3, 2013
Genre: Rock
Style: Prog Rock


01. 707 (A November Less)    9:27
02. Mother Turtle And The Evil Mushroom, Part 1: The Turtle Conjuration    6:51
03. The Elf    9:34
04. Bridge     6:07
05. God Games    12:16
06. Rhinocerotic    6:48
07. Attic    11:09


Bass [fretless], Bass – Kostis Hasopoulos
Drums, Backing Vocals – Giorgos Mpaltas
Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Kostas Konstantinidis
Lyrics By – Kostas Konstantinidis
Music By – Mother Turtle
Piano, Synth, Sampler – Giorgos Theodoropoulos

A very honest and well-worked album, Mother Turtle's self-titled debut comes to add to the impressive

releases from Greece in 2013. Their sound is an amalgam of influences from the 70's, mostly relying on heavy prog and guitar rock as confirmed by the impressive opener "707" with characteristic and memorable guitar phrases, resembling to Uriah Heep (Byron era) and Greek legends Socrates Drank the Conium. Not less interesting are the more obscure moments found in "Mother Turtle And The Evil Mushroom part 1" and "Rhinocerotic", especially the latter showing an affection towards King

Crimson. Often the heavier moods intertwine with mellower and jazzier passages, in the vein of Fusion Orchestra (the more adventurous) and VDGG (the more eclectic). References to more contemporary acts such as Black Bonzo can also be found on the highlight "God Games" and folksy passages find their way via the "Bridge".

MP3 @ 320 Size: 147 MB
Flac  Size: 400 MB



Label: Not On Label (Mother Turtle Self-released) – none
Format: CD, Album
Country: Greece
Released: Mar 24, 2017
Genre: Rock
Style: Prog Rock


01. Overture    1:46
02. Harvest Moon    13:08
03. Ennui    3:31
04. Walpurgi Flame    20:15
05. The Tower    2:56
06. The Art Of Ending A Revolution    14:44


Kostas Konstantinidis:guitars,vocals,midi guitar, ukulele
George Baltas: drums,vocals
George Theodoropoulos:keys
George Filopelou:electric and fretless bass
Babis Prodromidis: saxophone, flute
Alex Kiourntziadis: violin

Incredible eclectic prog from Greece. Each time I find myself listening to this album I am blown away by A) how good it is, B) how familiar it is, C) how diverse the styles represented here are, and D) how much it sounds like some long-lost 'classic' from the 1970s--like a new release of a heretofore undiscovered BABYLON tape.

1. "Overture" (1:46)
acoustic ditty introducing the epic that follows performed in a kind of Renaissance-style vocal herald à la GENTLE GIANT.
2. "Harvest Moon" (13:08) a song that sounds like it was left off a VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or KING CRIMSON album in the 1970s or perhaps a more recent DISCIPLINE/MATTHEW PARMENTER--only with a different vocalist. Great drumming, great keyboard work, great saxophone, great vocals, amazing ending!
3. "Ennui" (3:31) a gentle yet insistent STYX/RUSH-like interlude between the album's twin towers.
4. "Walpurgi Flame" (20:15) Like two songs in one: the first a eight-minute rendering of an amazing though long lost Zeuhl (GUAPO?) warm up, the second a contrasting gorgeous, hope-filled symphonic folk piece with female lead vocalists feeling similar to a CIRRUS BAY song (though it sounds more, in fact, like a song from Chile's AISLES' 2009 In Sudden Walks because of the incredible vocal melodies). Methinks the lyrics refer to the trouble a typical (or particular) Greek individual might have with his country (as well as his species') preoccupation with money and power when, at basic biological status, all are equal. My new favorite prog epic of the year 2016.

5. "The Tower" (2:56)
a beautiful and incredibly powerful tribute to the shock and confusion of the eye-witness observers of the destruction of New York City's Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
6. "The Art of Ending a Revolution" (14:44) is a decent if fairly bland and simple prog epic about the lesson humans are supposed to learn "the art of smiling while someone is stabbing your back," the art of practicing The Golden Rule, the art of patience with hope, the art of detachment. Nice electric guitar chord progressions, nice vocal, nice message, nice bass play, nice saxophone work--just a nice song. Nice. Like we're expected to be. Despite the chaos and corruption surrounding us. The best part of the song begins with the eery Twilight Zone-like synth over which David Strathairn reads Edward R. Murrow's famous anti-Eugene McCarthy speech from the 2005 film, Good Night, and Good Luck... and then the powerful final two minutes.

This is one of the most brilliantly conceived and realized concept albums I've ever heard. I hope it gets the attention it deserves--both musically and moral-politically.
A true masterpiece of progressive rock music and an album that should be heard around the world--especially in times like these.

MP3 @ 320 Size: 134 MB
Flac  Size: 365 MB



Mother Turtle – Zea Mice
Label: Not On Label (Mother Turtle Self-released) – none
Format: Album
Country: Greece   
Released: Feb 20, 2018
Genre: Rock
Style: Prog Rock


01. Zea Mice Part 1-Kukuruzu  (Voice – Elpida Papakosma)  6:44
02. Zea Mice Part 1-#Cornhub    8:06
03. Zea Mice Part 2-Sea Mice    6:53
04. Zea Mice Part 2-Zeitenlik (Narrator – Aristotelis Mavropoulos)  1:21
05. Zea Mice Part 2-Vermins (Voice – Elpida Papakosma)   6:40
06. Zea Mice Part 2-Fourward    1:57
07. Zea Mice Part 3-Vermins(Reprise)    1:11
08. Zea Mice Part 3-Nostos    16:38


Bass – George Filopelou
Drums – George Baltas
Guitar – Kostas Konstantinidis
Keyboards, Programmed By – George Theodoropoulos
Percussion [Guest] – Apostolis Georgiadis
Recorded By, Mixed By, Mastered By – Kostas Kofinas
Saxophone – Babis Prodromidis
Violin – Alex Kiourntziadis

After dropping the surprise bomb on me two years ago with their amazing "II"--a Top 10 Album of 2016 for me--I was super excited when Bandcamp notified me of this new release.

1. "Zea Mice part 1: Kukuruzu" (6:44)
opens like a prog song with long-held buzzing solo synth and vocal samples from field recordings in Russian (?) before breaking into a hard-driving, engagingly-themed rocker. Reminds me of The D Project's "Shimmering Lights." Nice work from bass, drums, and saxophone.
2. "Zea Mice part 1: #Cornhub" (8:06) solid foundational music over which several instrumentalists put on a great show: Alex Kiourntziadis' violin, Kostas Konstantinidis' acoustic and electric guitars, George Theodoropoulos' synths. I love the sound of George Baltas' metronomic snare! Marked down for being little more than a smooth jazz jam song.
3. "Zea Mice part 2: Sea Mice" (6:53) a nice smooth jazz groove over which synths, electric guitar, and violin take turns at the fore. I like the violin solo and the tension of the final third the best.
4. "Zea Mice part 2: Zeitenllik" (1:21) an ominous soundscape over which an obviously scary narration is performed . . . in Greek.
5. "Zea Mice part 2: Vermins" (6:40) seems a continuation of "Sea Mice" with the same (or variation of the same) driving groove. The female vocalise of Elpida Papakosma range in sound from Ofra Haza's Persian "scatting" to Björkian Sugarcube-era sounds. Guitar and violin lead us into a thicker,

faster section in the fifth minute. The final minute becomes more spacious and synthed, themed around a kind of James Bond riff. Nice tune.
6. "Zea Mice part 2: Fourward" (1:57) North African drumming within which piano and synths sneak intermittent riffs. Cool!
7. "Zea Mice part 3: Vermins (reprise)" (1:11) a stripped down, acoustic version of the Vermins theme? Pretty but I don't hear the similarity.
8. "Zea Mice part 3: Nostos" (16:38) excellent hard-driving instrumental prog over a techno-synth rhythm track. The final third turns radically into some smoky lounge jazz. Excellent sound.

It's taken me a long, long time to get up to writing a review of this album--despite the fact that I've owned it for over half the year. There's just a lot of dense music--which is particularly challenging to critique with instrumental music. The quality of performances and "hooks" is high but I really miss the wonderful storytelling that the vocals and instruments did with the previous album.
A near-masterpiece of instrumental progressive rock.

MP3 @ 320 Size: 119 MB
Flac  Size: 368 MB


  1. So there is still an unknown greece band. Of course i don't know. I listened to Zea Mice. A mix of all kinds of music. Prog with space, jazz and also a bit of psychedelic elements. ( violin is particularly beautiful). The band plays the devil out of themselves. I think overall is highly recommended.
    What are the other 3 albums like?
    You can download all 5 for 21e on bandcamp. Anyway, THANKS for the tip !

    1. This band is amazing. They charge the style of their music in every album. They are awesome musicians. I can't say what album is the best or not. You must listen to them in U Tube and then decide what you like. They are like chameleons. Okay?

    2. You're right, they are all very different.
      None is bad. By the way, there are 3 and not 2 as i first thought that are on U. Aspirines. I'm still thinking about how best do proceed. Either buy or download ?

    3. Later on this band became more Hard Prog and Metal Prog, and I don't know if you like this style. For me it's okay but for you?

    4. I'll have to check everything again in the next few days. Yes i'm not interested in metal....i will buy the first two ( not expensive).

  2. Only in the next few days - i'm currently busy with two philosophical book by a German existential philosopher who died in 1952. One is called CRITIQUE OF NIHILSM and has 600 pages.

  3. The first two have been ordered. 24e incl.

  4. Curious to listen greek prog music (apart the big names as Vangelis), i was visiting the blog for the Magna Carta post and while i given a look to other bands, i have a very good surprise with that unknow band to me, and the less i can say is, as i started with their first album, it was time i began to open my ears to their music! This is the kind of prog i appreciate the most. Very good musicians (singer is a top one), adventurous prog music that remind me the best UK production of the 70's (my band's pinnacle is Yes), i really appreciate their first album. I have to discover the other productions, comments says they change the style on every new one, that show they are open musically, and it is a good thing! Many thanks from a french prog fan for this discovery, and for all the great work you have done through the years!

  5. Listening the first album and the less i can say it is an excellent surprise. I like a lot this kind of prog that reminds me the great bands from the 70's and it was time i open my ears to the music the band made since ten years! Many thanks for the triple post that allow me to know more and as comments says they move and change their style at every release, i think to discover new things and i appreciate the way the band is following! Many thanks from a french progger for all the great work you have done through the years!

    1. Mr Looping, many thanks for your comment. If you like Progressive Rock, you have to search in the blog Greek bands like Will -o- Wisp and Ciccada. Really amazing groups. Greetings from Athens, Greece