Monday 1 March 2021



Apparently Neptune is dead but Desert Psychlist doesn't remember reading about it in the papers or seeing it reported on the news so could this be "fake news"? Well yes and no, yes because Neptune was an old god from an ancient religion and if he is still alive he's been keeping very quiet of late, and no because Neptune Is Dead is actually a dynamic quintet from Thessaloniki, Greece, consisting of  Frank Lampadaropoulos (vocals); George Ouzounoudis (guitar); Thanos Ouzounoudis (guitar); Manos Tzinieris (bass) and Konstantinos Alex.Noulas (drums), all of whom are very much alive and kicking and have just released their debut album "Chronos" (Chronos being the name of another Greek deity)

If you are releasing your debut album and want to grab your potential listeners attention with something that will interest them enough to stick around for a whole album then you are going to need a song that comes out of the traps spitting and snarling and with "Brimstone" Neptune Is Dead deliver the perfect opener. Raucous, pacey and in your face "Brimstone" doesn't sneak out of the speakers courtesy of some clever and intricate intro it explodes out of them on a wave of crunching riffage and thunderous rhythms and doesn't stop until its very last note, in that space of time delivering as much  musical crunch and vocal growl anyone could ever  hope for from an album carrying a stoner rock/metal tag. Following track "The Fortress of Montauk" drops the raunch down slightly,  but only by a smidgeon, and tackles the rumoured stories associated with a secret air force base situated in Long Island, New York, stories that told of people being used as human guinea pigs in experiments related to time travel and chemical warfare. Lyrically the song reads like an eye witness report, Lampadaropoulos telling us in thick graveled tones of a place "hidden from prying eyes deep inside the mountain" where children were "kidnapped, tortured, and killed in rooms, where blood pours like rain, only tears remain". It's heavy stuff and is backed by a groove that reflects the gravity of the songs theme, George and Thanos Ouzounoudis' guitars thrashing out a mixture of crunching power chords, ringing arpeggios and swirling solos over a backdrop of industrious drumming and deep growling bottom end courtesy of Noulas and Tzinieris. "Answers" begins strident and aggressive then puts on the brakes and slips into a grungy/alt-rock groove, the song seamlessly shifting back and forth between these two dynamics, with the vocals taking on a similar loud/quiet/loud dynamic, before finally signing out as aggressively as it began. Next up is "Handler of the Mob" its Floydian guitar intro introducing a song that has the feel of a torch song/ballad in its initial stages but then shifts towards something a little more feral and progressive as it reaches its close. As the album progresses through songs  like "Narcissus In Vain", "Liquid Messiah" through to album closer "The Sky" it becomes apparent that Neptune Is Dead are no powerchord junkies just content to string a few riffs together and stick to a tried and tested rock blueprint, this is a band made up of skilled and competent musicians who are just as able to go off on journey's into the inricate complexities of prog as they are to laying down something that is a little more raucous,  and heavy, the fact that they can do this without compromising on either is much to their credit. 

There have been signs of of a growing evolution within Greece's burgeoning underground rock scene, we have all become used to hearing southern tinted stoner/hard rock grooves from the likes Planet of Zeus, Nightstalker and Rollin' Dice but with the emergence of bands like Around The Fire and Instant Boner there seems to have been a shift in Greece towards music that is a little more cerebral. So where does this leave Neptune Is Dead you may ask and the answer to that is slap bang in the middle ,they are a band who can do primal but can just as easily do elaborate.
Check 'em out ....

© 2021 Frazer Jones

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