Greek Darkwave In A Nutshell, Part 1

By on 3 May 2011

By Athanassios Athanasopoulos or ‘Thanos’ to us. Thanos worked as an editor for Pop & Rock Magazine, Greece for years and we nabbed him so that he could enlighten us with his knowledge of the Greek indie scene. As you may know, Greece has a thriving metal scene still but it’s indie scene has spawned some bands that are worthy of a listen, some of whom have massive goth credentials eg New Zero God, some of whom were  once The flowers Of Romance and closely linked with Wayne Hussey, and Daeomia Nymphe, an influential band with a huge fan base and still going strong.

In the beginning there was dark…Post-punk and dark wave bands rambling in the birthplace of Zorba might sound like a joke but in this area of Southern Europe, with a sweeping influence of the so-called local scene, quite a number of bands made their way to recognition. Here’s a brief trip around the Greek indie scene via some of the best-known Greek bands.

Although the shockwave needed a couple of years to hit Greece back then, some bands had already started to move outside the boundaries of punk experimenting on darker and haunting landscapes.

Villa 21 were an influential post punk band from Athens formed in 1981 and released a brilliant debut album “Ghost On The Move” (1983) on Creep Records which was the only label to release the majority of the indie bands during the first half of the 80s.

Statues In Motion were another interesting band but disappeared after releasing “Statues In Motion” (1983).

Viridian Green and Forward Music Quintet experimented with electro-pop; the latter “The Mystery Of A Dying Species” LP is considered to be a masterpiece.

Headleaders

 

Headleaders cover of  ‘What It Means To Me’, 1983

Headleaders were a three-piece band with a Bauhaus essence to them. The front cover of their only release in 1983 “What It Means To Me” has the photograph called ‘Sad Dreams On Cold Mornings’ by the American photographer Joanne Leonard. This photo was also used on the cover of Suede’s “Dog Man Star” eleven years later.

Split Image

 

Among the dark wave pioneer bands were Split Image from Corfu before moving to Athens and reformed in 2007 after an almost 20 year hiatus.

Metro Decay

 

Metro Decay was another beloved greek-lyrics band releasing “Ypervasi (Excess)” in 1984.

However, the darkest band of that period was Yell-O-Yell. Their bluesy post punk would definitely make Nick Cave raise his left eyebrow. After two EP’s and two LP’s they disbanded in the late 80s.

 

 

Another productive dark-goth band was The Flowers Of Romance that originally started as a punk outfit. “Dorian Grey” (1990) was a huge debut release and not surprisingly, Wayne Hussey showed interest in their music and got involved in the production of “Brilliant Mistakes” (1996).

Cpt. Nefos was an enigmatic post punk act that spawned Libido Bloom, Hum and Sigmatropic. Their only album “Silence Interrupted” (1984) is now a collector’s item.

South Of No North was a highly appreciated dark wave band and the “Fell Frozen” (1986) LP is a must-have for the likes of Bauhaus, David Sylvian and Joy Division fans.

 

 

Ypogeia Trochia (Underground Orbit) and Arnakia (Lambs) were well accepted by the Greek audience mostly because of their greek lyrics and also remained active during the 90s. Libido Blume experimented with electro-funk, post punk and garage releasing two LP’s and one EP before disbanding in 1990.

Film Noir

 

Film Noir is a historic goth band with the trademark female vocals by Mariela, their lead singer, with “Never Ending Dream” (1986) being an outstanding lyrical debut. Around that time, Slow Motion introduced their dark electro sound, while Morel mixed post-punk and literature. But the time had come for Ding An Sich to experiment through their influences from the 70’s and early 80s to release “The Wanderer And His Shadow” (1995), a true masterpiece.

Under the inspiration of Cabaret Voltaire, Kraftwerk and Front 242, the duo In Trance 95 are considered to be pioneers of the Greek electro sound.

Into The Abyss, a Greek-German band is another ‘must-have’ for goth fans and “Cosmogonia” (1998) is an album you must seek immediately. Along of course, with Lefki Symphonia (White Symphony) a quite successful band which was the first Greek band to be shown on MTV Europe. Their debut “Mystiki Kipi” (Secret Gardens) is an epic.

Lefki Symphonia

 

Alive She Died

Alive She Died was a synth-oriented band which although short-lived, has left its mark on the local scene, whilst flirting with the Greek traditional music was not a barrier for En Plo (Sailing) and Avaton (Impassable), two historical bands of that era. En Plo’s only album of the same name (1989) sold poorly when released, however, and you have to dig deeply before you find it nowadays. Avaton are characterized as the greek Dead Can Dance. “Ex Adokito” (Suddenly) (1996) was based on poems by the ancient Greek poet Sappho and was a commercial success.

And the story goes on.. more in Part 2.

 

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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