Hailing from Thessaloniki, Greece, Naxatras bring psychedelic groove and fuzz in a raw, old school approach that makes you wonder at times if these guys have actually time travelled from the 1970’s. They strip back all of the layers of fancy production and pristine packaging and instead keep it as real as possible. This 3 song EP, clocking in at just under fourteen minutes, utilises analog equipment only and is a direct to master recording engineered by Jesus I. Agnew at Magnetic Fidelity. With a psychedelic horse gracing the cover, you just know this one is going to be good.
Wasting no time, Naxatras burst into the first song ‘Muscle Red Horse’. With a gritty, thick guitar tone and a heavyweight bass sound, the riffs pummel the speakers and accompanied by the washy, fast paced drums – this makes for a true juggernaut of an opener! Psychedelic lead guitar parts fill the space as chaotic drum fills worm their way between the fuzzy riffs making the overall energy here electric.
The next track is ‘Pulsar 4000’ – which slows down the pace and introduces us to the more psychedelic side of the band. With that classic spaced out lead guitar sound resonating above the smooth rhythm section, this sounds like space rock reminiscent of bands such as Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles. Listen out in particular for the blissful, slow tempo outro which takes the band more in to the desert rock territory, displaying their diversity. Visualize open plains, desert dunes and cloudless skies with the wind gently rolling by and you might get an idea of the vibes and the freedom in the playing.
Then there is the bonus track ‘Let My Soul Scream’, which may be the most thunderous, intense jam these guys have ever laid down. Beginning with drum fills, guitar feedback and bass rumble, the song gets off to a noisy start. Then a riff is introduced, teasing the listener before the chaos continues and ends in a climatic scream – the only sign of vocals in the whole EP. It really does seem as though the band pressed record and unloaded all of their passion and energy into this track and as illustrated in the title – they let their souls scream.
Throughout this EP, they seem as though they are in complete control of what they are playing whilst maintaining a loose, free flowing jam atmosphere. There are certainly plenty of different influences that come through in the music including psych, jazz, blues and space rock. These influences are incorporated into the music which is very carefully and cleverly structured, allowing each instrument to shine individually.
The good news is if you enjoyed this EP, you don’t have to wait long for more Naxatras as they are releasing their second full length album in May. These guys have no intention of slowing down, showing their love and passion of making and sharing their music. Let the psychedelic horse ride on!
Written by Ben Hughes