4 out of 5 Stars!
Formed in Athens back in the late ’60s, the oddly named Socrates Drank The Conium released a trio of albums in 1972 and 1973, all of which provide a enjoyable blend of Heavy Psych, Hard/Blues Rock, and a touch of Progressive Rock, thanks to some of the arrangements and altering time signatures.
And although the vocalist (Antonis Tourkoyorgis) isn’t always 100% accurate when belting out the melodies, his impassioned, sometimes-gruff delivery is more than acceptable for music of this nature. On tracks such as “Live in the Country,” “Bad Conditions,” “Starvation,” “Close the Door and Lay Down,” “Hoo Yeah,” and the multi-part, bluesy and ballsy “It’s a Disgusting World,” with its thundering rhythms, trippy flute insertions, and outstanding guitar solo, the band often reminds me of an amalgam of artists such as Cream, May Blitz, Ten Years After, Mountain, Jimi Hendrix, and Three Man Army. Indeed, each track, even the mid-tempo, psychedelic “Underground,” features tasty and aggressive lead and bass guitar throughout (thanks respectively to Stratocaster-wielding Yannis Spathas and the aforementioned Antonis Tourkoyorgis, who also acted as bassist), and a tight, driving rhythm section, with drummer Elias Boukouvalas proving his solid worth, each member equally rivaling the musicianship of the aforementioned artists.
For fans of the genre and era, this highly obscure band with the odd name is definitely worth investigating. Also keep in mind, that after some lineup changes around 1976—including the addition of keyboardist Vangelis—the band shorted its moniker to simply Socrates and released four additional albums, the first one, Phos, appearing later that same year.