Villagers of Ioannina City
Riza


4.5
superb

Review

by manosg USER (37 Reviews)
July 13th, 2014 | 37 replies


Release Date: 04/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Psychedelic tunes from the mountains of northern Greece

Blending different genres can be an intriguing but tricky business. There’s a reason that specific instruments work better within the context of a particular genre but the challenge of incorporating unfamiliar melodies to a band’s sound can be very rewarding, provided that it sounds unforced.

Villagers of Ioannina City are a product of the booming Greek stoner scene and their debut Riza is one of the most interesting albums that have come out from the said scene in recent years. The band was formed in 2007 and in the beginning they were just another stoner/psychedelic band with influences from legends such as Pink Floyd and Kyuss. However, as one will easily notice, Riza is dominated by the sounds of clarinet or “clarino” as it’s better known in Greece. Clarino is a vital component of Greece’s traditional folk music and it’s heavily used in occasions such as weddings and celebrations.

As one can easily understand, Riza is a highly experimental album. There are moments where the listener can feel the influences from Kyuss and Monster Magnet but at the same time the band utilizes rhythms and time signatures hailing from Greek tradition. Therefore, you should expect slow rhythms and at the same time heavy use of the clarino. Of course, the music is guitar driven as on most stoner albums but you won’t find many guitar solos. The instrument that is used for soloing on Riza is the clarino as it’s used in Greek traditional music. Its purpose is to create a feeling of freedom and pride to the listener. In addition, the drums, even though basic, are also in the forefront as they determine the rhythm along with the guitar. Moreover, the majority of lyrics is in Greek northern dialect and derives from traditional songs from Epirus (part of northern Greece). Riza (meaning root in Greek) is so rooted in Greek tradition that it even includes a track (“Tabourla”) that is in a nutshell the history of Ioannina, the band’s birthplace.

As a result of the above, Riza is an album that needs repeated listens and effort in order to digest. The heavy use of clarino and the Greek lyrics might sound odd to those who are unfamiliar with the said elements and a few listeners will definitely find the rhythms foreign.

However, VIC’s debut is an album that is highly recommended to all fans of stoner/psychedelic rock. Riza is not an album of cover versions of traditional Greek songs but a modern stoner adaptation of Greek heritage done the proper way. Granted, it might alienate some but the benefits for the listener if this album clicks for him/her are too many to ignore.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

AOTY for me. Miss it at your own risk.

Full album: http://vicband.bandcamp.com/album/riza

Your comments are very welcome.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2014


6198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

I was expecting you Manos to write a review about this great album.

Great review, pos.

Digging: Aeon Sable - Visionaers

OmairSh
July 13th 2014


11547 Comments


Sounds interesting dude, i think I'll have to check this out

Digging: Freak Kitchen - Cooking With Pagans

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2014


6198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

It's exactly what Manos said with that "Missing at your own risk" statement, Sputnik residents you haven't heard anything like this before.

IMHO, the net value of the rock instrumentation is not on the same level as that of the clarinet, but the prevailing presence of the latter, more than compensates for any perceived lack of stoner rock intrigue.


And here's a live concert from Greece's most renowned folk clarinet player Peter-Lucas Chalkias, an Epirus-Greek native:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YTTxHep3e0





manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@Voivod
Thanks man, this is a pretty special album so I really hope more people check it out.

@Omair
I can guarantee to anyone that this is at the very least interesting. Let me know how you like it if you give it a spin. "St. Triad" is a representative sample of this album.

OmairSh
July 13th 2014


11547 Comments


It's great that you guys are promoting your country's music. Good to get dome diversity up in 'ere.

warlordfun
July 13th 2014


390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome, awesome, awesome!!

Mad.
July 13th 2014


3975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yes, so glad this got a review! Definitely some of the best I've heard this year. Awesome work Manosg, pos'd.

Have you heard Tuber? They're another Greek stoner band similar to this with more post rock influences, also brilliant stuff

manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@warlordfun
Agreed hard!

@Mad
Thanks dude. I actually haven't heard Tuber but I just added them to my list so I'll check them soon. Glad you enjoyed this one!

OmairSh
July 13th 2014


11547 Comments


I need to get more obscure stuff than Mad

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2014


3441 Comments


Great review! This is a cool album, I have to listen to it more.

Digging: Mark Lanegan - Phantom Radio

manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers Raul, yeah this needs a couple of listens so as to get the full out of it.

Mad.
July 13th 2014


3975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Omair Dude that's not even possible, I am the Bandcamp king

YUJOS
July 13th 2014


940 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Give clarina to the people!!! Nice work again Mano!

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

scissorlocked
July 13th 2014


3511 Comments


didn't expect to see this one here!

band is awesome, grats for the review manos!!

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@Yujos
Thanks man, well said!

@scissorlocked
Felt it needed a review and some exposure. I hope more people check these dudes and thank you for the kind words.

InFlamesWeThrash666
July 13th 2014


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Give clarina to the people [2]

Pos'd hard

Digging: Truckfighters - Gravity X

manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[3]

Thanks dude.

Mad.
July 13th 2014


3975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We gotta get this to 21 votes and top of the Sputnik charts

manosg
July 13th 2014


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That would be pretty cool dude but can we get to that threshold?



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