Selections from my Record Collection : The 10 Best Greek Punk Albums
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Greek Punks 1985 (Photo Credits : Giorgos Tourkovassilis)
The usual perception about "music taste" in Greece is that it is a country "dominated" by Heavy Metal and even though that this not so far from the truth, there is a long and quite unknown tradition of Punk Rock music and bands that had emerged in the early 80s mainly from the 2 big Greek cities (Athens and Thessaloniki). Taking the influence for their lyric themes from the politically turmoiled period and singing in their native language (a factor that did not help to provide a broader recognition) these bands became both pioneering and influential. I have chosen 10 of the best and more significant albums of the Greek Punk scene and I present them without any ranking sequence :
Panx Romana - Urban Guerillas (1989)
I think that any proper list about Greek Hardcore Punk shall include at least one album by the historical Athenian group and truth is until the last moment I found it difficult to choose which one of their first two albums I should include here. In the end, it was their second album the one that prevailed as being their more mature effort. Panx Romana belong to the category of those groups that their music will never "develop" or "progress", they have remained for the last 38 years faithful to their Rock n Roll punk which is influenced by Clash, Ramones and the whole English 77 scene and to their ideas about peace, disarmament, antimilitarism, antifascism and abolishment of army service. Enjoying the respect of all the groups of the Greek scene (early and later ones) I think that there was no Greek kid (indie, punk, hardcore or metalhead) who didn't at some point own at least one album or cassette by them.
Antidrasi - State of Emergency (1990)
Differently to what I did for Panx Romana, I chose to include in this list the first from all Antidrasi LPs despite its rawness and naivety. Reason is that is a pure outcome and reflection of the anger that the political situation of the period before its release has generated thus it shall be seen and assessed more like a document of an era rather than a piece of recorded music. State of Emergency is an album that makes The Exploited sound like an art rock band but at the same time is an LP that any amateur band can easily cover any song from it. It is art in its most accessible and non-elitist form.
Adiexodo - 38 millimetres (1986)
When we talk about albums that document an era, we shall definitely not forget .38 or 38 millimetres by Adiexodo. Taking its name from size of the bullet fired by a policeman and which assassinated the 15 year old Athenian Mihalis Kaltezas in 1985, it is an album full of youth energy, rage and desire for revenge - the band members were at that time in the same age group as Kaltezas). Containing an instrumental track named Soundtrack for Street fights, I believe that no better alternative title for this album could have been provided. The band members are still active in the Greek Punk and Hardcore scene in other legendary bands like Deus X Machina.
Genia tu Ηaous - Chaos Generation (1986)/Requiem (1989) (Compilation 1996)
As the scene was expanding, progress and maturity was catching up and there were bands who managed to successfully transform reaction and rage to poetry. One of them was, maybe the best band of the scene, Genia tu Haus. Having released 2 legendary albums, with the second one being more Hardcore and Heavy Metal influenced (it was released in the early 90s where the Heavy Metal "contamination" had already spread within the Greek Punk scene) and since I could not made my mind I decided to add in the list the "posthumous" compilation that includes both.
Stress - The Sound of Insecurity (1985)
Stress were possibly the first Greek Anarcho/Anti-authoritan Punk group and personally for me this was one of the 2 albums that had introduced me to the Greek Punk sound (the other one is also included in this list). Having been heavily censored at the time of its release, The Sound of Insecurity has seen 2 differently produced versions until its final restoration a few years ago. Melodic, fast and aggressive it still remains a classic.
Gulag - Showyard (1990)
Even though Thessaloniki (the second largest Greek city) had more contribution in the later Hardcore scene, I have included 3 LPs from local bands in this list. Starting with Gulag who for me were the Greek answer to Fugazi. That means that they were playing more of a "Thinking Man's Punk" with focus on the artistic expression and freedom rather than form. One of the few surviving bands of the scene.
ANTI... - ANTI... (1986)
ANTI were more Punk in attitude and lyrics rather than in their music style. Even though their sound was created with synth and drum machines, it did not lack aggression and stayed always faithful to the DIY ethics. Some may call it proto-industrial, I still consider it as Punk.
Ex-Humans - Useless Survival (1984)
I wrote a few lines above, about how a cassette tape containing the album of Stress introduced me to the Greek Punk sound. The same tape was including the album of another band of that era (which time-wise, was released before the one of Stress). That was the album of Ex-Humans a record totally "primitive" when it came to the instrumentation however the fuzzy guitars, the melodies and the excellent songwriting make it still one of my favourites. Many songs of this album have been covered by next generation groups showing its influence in the Greek scene.
Pissa kai Poupoula - Tar and Feathers (1993)
Second group from Thessaloniki in this list, coming also form the second generation of the scene when the Hardcore and Heavy Metal influences started to prevail. Nevertheless, Pissa kai Poupoula despite their undisputed technical skills managed to remain unaffected and delivered one of the most artistically acclaimed Punk albums of the Greek scene.
Ektos Eleghou - Out of Control (1994)
Third band from Thessaloniki and last (but definitely not least) in this list and in my opinion this is the album that is the most mature and marks the peak of the Greek Punk scene. Seeing a late release (only in 1994) the self-titled album by Ektos Eleghou contained songs which were written many years before but had in the meantime become classics from their live versions. It is an album that belongs in my desert island disc list.
Various Artists - Disturbance of Common Peace (1984)
This is perhaps the most classic and important compilation of this first wave of Greek Punk. Most of the bands that were presented in this list, appear also in this compilation with early versions of their songs making it clear that there was an emerging Greek Punk scene. This compilation contains classic songs like Bastardocracy a song which I think there is no greek Punk band that has not covered it. To phrase it better, if you have been born in Greece you have not had a normal adolescent life if you have not sung this song when you were 15.