There’s a big paradox in Greece: weather here is sunny and warm as hell but people of the underground music scene seem to dig a lot the dark-wave, synth, post-punk & dark punk sounds. There are tons of bars, venues, parties and collectives dedicated to this scene and it’s now really common to hang out and shake your body under the sign of darkness on a random Saturday night.
This summer, I even had the chance to dance in a dark-wave discotheque found at the isolated Cycladic landscape of Anafi island, just in the middle of the Aegean sea. Crazy! And the history of this music itself is also very interesting. There used to be an amazing Greek post-punk / darkwave scene back in the 80’s accompanying the local punk explosion of the same era, with many great bands included such as Χωρίς Περιδέραιο, Metro Decay, Villa 21, Clown, Alive She Died etc. (Find them on YouTube!)
However, it soon got forgotten during the ’90s under the reign of the legendary Greek DIY hardcore / crust of that period and of course Greek rock, both mainstream and underground, with a comeback to follow later during the ’00s, but in a way too-goth-for-my-taste style and maybe too commercial, without an attitude able to inspire.
We’re now at the end of the decade reaching out 2020 and Greek post-punk more than ever seems it has returned back home, to sweaty basements, occupied places, squats, the DIY scene and the local anarchist & counter-culture movement. I’m really happy to be involved in this scene and even happier to share some good local bands with a collaborative zine, sharing the same ethics with this network, as DIY Conspiracy is!
So, here’s my list of essential Greek post-punk bands in 2018!
1. Αρχή Του Τέλους (Arxi Tou Telous)
Αρχή Του Τέλους has been active since the early 00’s but in my opinion the best moments of their discography can be traced after 2010. “Πτώση” LP is a nightmare of urban dystopia I really cannot stop listening to, with guitars building a very uncomfortable feeling and vocals borrowing elements of Greek ’90s rock with a glimpse of hip hop—first time I say this!—, as they just sound as reciting the lyrics, in a very distinct and interesting way. “Κάθαρση” is a bit more smooth and rockish than “Πτώση” but still with amazing songwritting and top-notch tunes.
2. Era Of Fear
Era Of Fear was the first band to introduce again, in a large scale, dark / post-punk within the Greek DIY punk scene. Hailing from a very north area of Greece, these punks quickly managed to connect the name of their small city Xanthi with the local post-punk revival, booking similar bands from abroad and of course doing the Macabre Dance Night, an annual celebration fest of DIY dark music. The key element of their music is definitely the use of keyboards, establishing their debut 7” “Μιζέρια / Πίσω Απ’ Τους Τοίχους” as a now classic record of the scene. There’s also a split LP with Πανδημία from Athens, and several split cassettes mainly including already released tracks.
3. Cold I
It’s nice because every band of this article plays similar music but in its own unique way. Cold I’s tempo is a bit lower, with riffs focusing on building a bigger story in each song. The main structure is repetitive and the band chooses to unleash its big moments in the choruses, a thing that makes everyone dance at their gigs. Add the excellent bass playing and the poetic lyrics to the whole and you end up with a result worth to pay attention. They already have a full-length called “Κακός Άνεμος” and they’re about to co-release a new mini LP at our local Scarecrow Records.
4. Πανδημία (Pandemia)
Πανδημία is not around anymore but it has been one of the most important Greek bands of this decade. They’re not exactly post-punks, they actually played anarcho-punk but they’d been always hand in hand with post-punk groups. Their debut LP “Μοντέρνα Πανούκλα” is a milestone of the 3rd golden era of Greek punk—as I’m used to call it—and a must-listen for every person digging early 80’s UK anarcho-punk.
5. Σκοτοδίνη (Skotodini)
Skotodini’s hometown is a beautiful but very isolated city of the Greek west, called Ioannina. This place has never been really the home of Greek punk but these young anarcho-punks have managed to bring this area on surface, with various projects they’ve been involved in, and make it a must-stop for touring bands visiting Greece. As Ivan Shentov already mentioned, they self-record, self-produce and self-release all their music and I really admire this passion which definitely is radiated in their unique dark punk and female-fronted sound, including constant guitar shredding and super catchy parts. They have two full-lengths with melodies you should really be aware of!
6. Chain Cult
Chain Cult has been around for just a year or so but quickly managed to establish its name within the new blood of the international DIY punk scene. It consists of three individuals who, after years of involvement in the local scene: booking of both Greek and foreign acts, embroilment in squats / collectives & DIY spaces, and experience in several hardcore / crust bands, decided they just needed to play post-punk, but this in a more punkish and radio-(un)friendly way. It’s dark energetic music about dystopic themes, personal dead ends & political concerns, with dance melodies and sing-along refrains. They have two releases out by UK’s finest La Vida Es Un Mus.
7. Οδός 55 (Odós 55)
This band is an essential one for those who dig underground electronic music dressed in synth punk. Actually, as what I’ve many times stated, what I really like about the records of this group is that they’re completely punk even if there’s a total lack of common rock instruments use, you know drums, guitars etc. There’s just synths, effects, drum machine and desperate cries creating an ultra haunting atmosphere. Οδός 55 along with Regressverbot—check ’em too—are both responsible for a couple of truly emblematic anthems of the current international dark-wave dance scene.