Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Ανάσα Στάχτη "Self-titled" cd, 2005

I couldn't possibly do a 90's crust special and not rant diabolically about Greek crust. It would have been a major mistake, so terrible in fact, that I would have almost expected a mob of disgruntled crusties waiting for me with forks and torches.

90's Greek crust should be seen as genuinely classical. Greek bands should be mentioned spontaneously and with awe when discussing crust. Some albums are just so good that they should have become points of reference. But none of that is actually true. For some reason, Greek crust is beloved by punk nerds but has largely remained obscure, even for those who claim to love crust music. Could it be the language barrier? Unlikely, since we all love Finnish hardcore. It is true that, for a long time, a lot of classic Greek crust was really difficult to listen to, since the records were so hard to find and super expensive (this has not changed actually...). But thanks to the internet, they are now freely available and it should have generated a lot more interest than it actually has. It is a bit of a mystery to me to be honest... I cannot accept, on an intellectual level, that such great bands remain vague record collector items instead of proper crust classics. You happy? You all made me angry now...

Greek crust has this specific feel that makes it instantly recognizable. The Greek wave was probably the most influenced by the original British one, even more so than the Californian one I would argue. Basically, Greek punks just got Amebix, Antisect, Axegrinder. I don't know why, but they embraced this brand of apocalyptic, crunchy mid-tempo metallic punk and built upon it, enhanced it, often through the addition of synth, which is fine by me, but can understandably annoy some people (but then, what would Amebix do?).

Thankfully, Greek crust is slowly being reissued, like the Chaotico Telos Lp, the Panikos demos or the Psychosi unreleased Lp that should be released - hopefully - soon. But there are still so many amazing, unbelievably good stuff left that it truly is a task of epic proportions. Like this Anasa Stahti album for instance.


- Hey you! At the back!
- Who? Me?
- Yeah, you with the Axegrinder backpatch. Come here for a sec please.
- Alright...
- (showing the Anasa Stahti Lp) Do you recognize this album?
- Nope... doesn't ring a bell... Some band from an Eastern country, yeah?
- Not really, no. It is a classic record of 90's Greek crust. 
- From Greece? I didn't know they did the crust thing over there.
- I wish I were deaf... Of course they did, and they did it much better than most. 
- But do they sing in Greek?
- They do. 
- I am not sure I am gonna like it, it sounds weird...
- Do you listen to any Greek punk-rock at all?
- No... I don't think I know any Greek band actually...
- I thought as much. So instead of liking Hellshock videos on Facebook, why don't you give this geezer a shot. It will change your life and you will become addicted to Greek stenchcore and spend ridiculous amounts of money on discogs when you go home blind drunk from a gig.
- Thank you Terminal Sound Nuisance! You have just renewed my faith in crust. I was actually toying with idea of switching to indie-rock... (sobs heavily)
- You're welcome. I am only doing my job. Now go and enjoy the Greek crust life. And don't come back until you can actually spell Ανάσα Στάχτη!
- I will! 



Anasa Stahti formed in 1992 in Athens and was originally made up of Thanasis (from the early Chaotico Telos line-up and Χαμένα Ιδανικά, a late 80's raw hardcore-punk band somewhere between Disorder and Lärm), Nikos (from the obscure ισοπέδωση), Kostas (from Σκατόψυχοι) and Themis. The latter two would soon be replaced with John (from Αναβίωση) and Georgios (from Akros Antithetoi, a Broken Bones-type band). The final line-up of Anasa Stahti would see John leaving room for Makis on bass, who also played in the brilliant Αρνητική Στάση (yes, that's the Negative Stance that did an Ep on Profane Existence).

Like most political punk bands at the time in Greece, Anasa Stahti were connected to the Villa Amalias radical anarchist squat in Athens and the label that released their Lp, Do It Yourself Records, was actually run by Villa Amalias and another squat in Thessaloniki, Villa Barbara. The label only did four records though, with the addition of the fantastic Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης compilation Lp (that also had bands like Panikos, Psychosi or Mastiga), the Shit Hit The Fan Ep and the second album of Ανατέλλων Τρόμος. The record we are dealing with today is not, however, the original Lp, but the classy cdr reissue that was released in 2005 by Do It Yourself Records and Punk.Gr, a small label that reissues classic Greek punk (probably to fight the ridiculous prices on Ebay and make the music available for an amount of money that is not outrageous) and also helps releasing top modern Greek bands like Pandemia or the rather good Balkan tribute to Amebix.

Don't be scared by the phrase "cdr reissue" as it is probably the best-looking cdr record I have ever seen. The actual cd even looks like a vinyl! There is an Ep format booklet with the original poster and artwork so it really couldn't have been done better, and in fact, a lot of "proper" cd releases don't look half as good as this one. As a bonus, they even included the two songs that Anasa Stahti contributed to 1996's Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης on the cdr, so really there is nothing to complain about here. Musically, Anasa Stahti played pure Greek crust with a groovy, tasteful thrash-metal touch in the guitar. It is heavy, intense, dark, apocalyptic metallic punk with gruff vocals, bits of synth here and there (because that is what people do over there) and epic songwriting. It is probably best defined as "Hellbastard-meets-late-Antisect-at-a-Coitus-gig-in-Athens-when-they-opened-for-Naftia". Or something. The vocals are aggressive and angry, the riffs are effective and more intricate than they first appear to be, there is an anthemic, brutal, threatening quality to the music. The whole beat range is covered on the album, from crunchy mid-tempo scorchers, to faster pummeling moments. If it were not for the typical 90's production (there is no real technicality to it in this case), some of the songs would have been genuine hits during the last stenchcore revival of the mid 2000's.

Aesthetically, the album is a small wonder. The cover is stunning, with a drawing of a young crusty punk armed with a stick entering an evil computer screen. Each song is illustrated with its own drawing which makes for an impressive result and gives that much strength to the band's lyrics. Although some of their contents may have been lost in translation, Anasa Stahti wrote superb songs. The topics are usually dark and rather hopeless, but there always remains a sense of insurgency, a glimmer of life, like a faint heartbeat. Evocations of social and religious alienation, despair, self-hatred, self-sacrifice, imprisonment... The band smartly ties our darkest feelings, our inner suffering with the more global oppression and control. This is intelligent, deep and yet unintellectual political punk music (that's a compliment actually).

Icing on the crusty cake, there is an Anasa Stahti interview included with the booklet. It was done in 1993 and was published in a local fanzine called "Audiatur et Altera Pars". It is all in Greek so I don't have a clue about what they are talking about, apart from Villa Amalias and nazis...

This album is by any reliable, decent standards, a crust classic and anyone who gives a shit, even a small amount of it, about the metallic end of crust should be familiar with it. When Anasa Stahti called it a day, three members formed Ανατέλλων Τρόμος in 1998, helped in their glorious quest by an ex-Pyschosi member. Ανατέλλων Τρόμος carried on where Anasa Stahti left but, as good as they genuinely are, I guess they lost a little of the heaviness and primitiveness of crust, key elements indeed, and tried to write more complex, more melodic songs.


  1. thanks, greece had awesome punk/HC bands in the 80s.

    now it seems that the stuff sold by on cd-r is often taken from not too great mp3...well i supposed cuz i've download a good bunch of greek punk stuff in flac, taken from cd-r, only to find out what i said just above

    1. Well honestly, this cd has by far the best Anasa Stahti files I have found so far so maybe they did well on this one?

  2. most underrated greek band to me

    1. It is true they are really good, but they at least got reissued recently!

    2. hi there,whats your opinion about the Nuclear Winter lp re-issue? In terms of quality of course.

    3. This is a superb reissue, undeniably. The original artwork was not exactly spectacular, truth be told, but the new one is fantastic. It is an amazing job and I felt it breathed new life into the band.

  3. I tested this two ways. First, I looked at the .wav files with EAC's spectral analyzer, and then I had Trader's Little Helper test for integrity. I don't trust TLH as much as seeing what a waveform looks like through an analyzer. Both confirmed these are NOT sourced from MP3s. This reissue is from a lossless source.

    Thanks for the rip!

    1. Well, I am certainly not as well-versed in music formats as you are, but I think the sound on the cd speaks for itself. Before I got this one, I had downloaded a few horrible-sounding versions of this Lp, so that when I first listened to this reissue I almost felt like it was a different one! And it does sound so much better this way, no comparison.

  4. The guitar tone reminds me of Dr.Know's Wreckage in Flesh.

  5. thanks for the post, great as all the work you doing here, have a nice year and wish you to continue
    i had the chance to see them on stage during the Radio Utopia 3 day fest in 1996 but i lost them since i had to leave before they start playing. this lp is the holy grail of greek punk along with Stress 1st lp (reissued about a year ago)
    the guitarist formed Atopia as the next step to Rising Terror and released a cd in 2012
    Rising Terror formed back in 2015 and played some gigs sharing the stage with Chaotic End who formed back too

    1. Hey, thanks for the comment. I didn't know Atopia and they are rather good. I had no idea Rising Terror had reformed as well...

  6. Great post! Thanks! Do you know if the mastertapes of Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης are lost?
    Because I was missing the 2 songs of MASTIGA on their reissue and the two songs of PANIKOS sound much better on the compilation than on their reissue; in fact they sound like taken from dusty vinyl or by a bad needle...
    Also the tracks of Ψύχωση on said compi are missing on the reissue, sad because they are both their best songs. May be they deserve a single reissue but may be the complete DIY records catalogue is lost...
    There were so many cool Greek blogs with high quality downloads but most are gone and I had them all but then all my computer-shit got stolen and now it makes me wonder how can it be that so many people consumed all those hard work in downloads and none of them seems to get the idea of reposting on their own blog ... Guess the times of blogs are over and now it's streaming bullshit

    1. Hallo there. Thanks for the kind words.
      I unfortunately don't have a clue about Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης... It is such a brilliant compilation that it would deserve the reissue treatment but you could be right about the master tapes being missing. Hopefully, with the renewed interest in bands like Panikos, Psychosi or Xaotiko Telos, it might happen one day. I actually have the Lp but the booklet is missing so I am still hesitating to post it here.

      Sadly a lot of blogs closed down in the past 5 years, because of server-related issues (banned accounts) and probably because of an overall consumerist behaviour. As you said, it is actually tedious work to rip, scan and write about records and perhaps many didn't see the point to keep going when they didn't really have any feedback.