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Villagers of Ioannina City – Age of Aquarius Award winner

Villagers of Ioannina City
Age of Aquarius
by Dave Nowels at 15 April 2020, 2:51 PM

VILLAGERS OF IOANNIAN CITY are a Greek Heavy Experimental Psych ensemble hailing from, no surprise, Ioannina (Yannena) and the mountains of Epirus in northwest Greece. They've been doing their thing since 2007, releasing 3 previous albums beginning in 2010. “Age of Aquarius” is the band's newest effort, courtesy of Mantra Records and released back in September of 2019. It's certainly not an album that deserved to get lost in the cracks, and I feel fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to review it. Lucky me!

Age of Aquarius is an interesting sum of all sorts of fascinating parts. Comprised of soaring melodies, a worldly Folk feel sprinkled liberally with Pych-Rock fuzz and reverb.They're deeply influenced with Greek heritage, and incorporate traditional folk instrumentation ( bagpipes, flutes and even didgeridoo) along with their own method of exploring heavy psychedelic rock. Quite distinctive to be sure, and also exceptionally memorable. It's also a really well produced effort, and sonically, incredibly rewarding.

The intro track, “Welcome” morphs into the title track and builds with anticipation slowly, perhaps even methodically. But make no mistake, it's also purposefully. These are songs that are crafted, rather than just played. The song's and indeed, the whole album's title is immensely symbolic. It represents ushering a brand new era of experimentation and creation. “Part V” 's root base, and definitely the breakdown, follows an almost TOOL-ish influence, but never seems reliant upon copying the other band's sound too heavily. That's of important relevance, and is used to the band's and the albums benefit throughout.

Bagpipes in heavy music, while rare, are an incredible addition when used properly. Think AC/DC's “Long Way to The Top…”, and now also “Dance of Night” , “Arrival” as well as “Father Sun” and more. The droning atmosphere of the pipes adds so much substance and sonic texture. It's those little details that make “Age of Aquarius” so memorable and dare I say, magical. It's unexpected, but just seems perfectly placed. But it's not just the instrumentation that's unique, it's also the vocals. Alex deftly applies an almost post punk, Nu Wave tonality throughout, but most notably on “Cosmic Soul”. For some reason, Dave Gahan of DEPECHE MODE kept popping into my head, and on further thought, that's really appropriate. There are elements of that era and music style present on “Age of Aquarius”, and again, like the folk instruments, it absolutely works.

VILLAGERS OF IOANNIAN CITY have definitely given it's listeners their monies worth here. “Age of Aquarius” features 10 tracks and clocks in at a whopping 67 minutes in length. I think as an album, this one is one I'll frequently revisit, and as a result continue to discover different nuances and intentions. All said and done, it's a gift that keeps on giving. Head on over to the band's Bandcamp page for a sample, I recommend “Millennium Blues” for your first taste. Anyway, if you dig it, while there pick up your own copy of preference. Bands really need all the help they can right now with touring ground to a halt. Really well done album. Thanks for the music guys.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10



 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Welcome
2. Age of Aquarius
3. Part V
4. Dance of Night
5. Arrival
6. Father Sun
7. Millennium Blues
8. Cosmic Soul
9. For the Innocent
10. Sparkle out of a Black Hole
Lineup:
Alex – Guitar, Vocals
Akis – Bass
Aris – Drums
Konstantis – Clarinet, Kaval, Backing Vocals
Kostas – Bagpipes, Winds
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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