Villagers of Ioannina City
Age of Aquarius


4.0
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
June 8th, 2020 | 24 replies


Release Date: 09/20/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More personal, yet more extrovert

Five years between two releases is a long time, especially to those who were blown away by Villagers of Ioannina City’s debut, Riza. The Greek outfit’s rich sound that blended stoner rock, folk instruments and psychedelia, was not just successful, but quite original. So when the first single from their sophomore effort was released, it was met with a sense of excitement and a hint of disappointment by some.

You see, compared to its predecessor, Age of Aquarius is less direct, less immediate for the Greek fans of the band but more accessible to all the rest. Whereas on Riza the wind instruments were on the forefront, here they complement the songs, and the use of English lyrics makes it easier to understand the concept of this release. The way the album begins with the intro and the slow-burning title track is an indication that this time the Greek outfit is not looking for a “wow factor” by placing the clarinet and the bagpipe on the spotlight. They are rather equal parts of a very organic mix, so it’s not a surprise that a woodwind instrument appears for the first time almost 10 minutes into the album. Additionally, the clarinet enters in a rather subtle way, which is way different than how it was used on Riza, where it was even louder than the guitars. This almost feels like a statement from the Greek outfit: “This is who we are right now, don’t expect our usual pyrotechnics”. And the truth is that, initially, that approach didn’t work for me, but given the time it deserves, AoA is quite rewarding. The focus here is on creating a relaxing, trippy atmosphere, which I guess is one of the reasons that “Part V” continues where the title track left off.

Right after the dronish start, VIC’s folk influences come into play, with some of the most uplifting tracks of the LP. The sound of the clarinet and the bagpipe help in forming a relatively distinctive sound, which combined with melodies hailing from the mountains of Epirus, create much-needed dynamics. The emotional “Dance of Night” features a clarinet solo and one of the most memorable riffs of the album, while “Father Sun” is the closest this album gets to Riza. Of course, for an LP that clocks at one hour and fine minutes, some variety is needed. On “Millennium Blues”, the Greeks are not afraid to incorporate a reggae rhythm which develops into a cathartic finish with female vocals, whereas “Cosmic Soul”, with its driving rhythm, is one of the most spacey tracks. On the contrary, “For the Innocent” is not only the shortest but also the most immediate song on here.

Eventually, if Riza was the culmination of everything the band was doing up until that point, AoA reeks of evolution; a conscious effort towards a new age for the band. The trip continues, but this time around it’s not on some mountain of Northern Greece, but floating in the never-ending universe. Eventually, both albums feel like they came out of nowhere, took the listener by surprise, and kicked him right on the balls. Well-played.




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3.8
excellent
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Riza


Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Been meaning to review this one for quite a while. Better late, than never.

Digging: Winter?s Verge - The Ballad of James Tig

Trundle
June 8th 2020


3101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have definitely enjoyed listening to Riza, will probably get this in the coming months

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sweet. You might not enjoy this one so much instantly, but it certainly has a lot to offer.

Trundle
June 8th 2020


3101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha, idk man, chances are i'm gonna enjoy it, i seem to enjoy most "Stoner/psych" releases more than most people on this site.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That's pretty cool, man. If you happen to jam the album, feel free to share if it grabbed you from the beginning.

Trundle
June 8th 2020


3101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya man, i definitely plan on getting this, i've actually gone a little overboard with my bandcamp / itunes purchases in recent weeks due to boredom and i have a lot to listen to, i'll probably buy this as a birthday present to myself next month

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2020


8880 Comments


Excellent review, the second paragraph is exactly what Riza lacked so blatantly.

I haven't checked this so far, because none of the other reviews I read, was revealing enough as to how the new album differentiates itself with respect to its predecessor.

Digging: Striges - Verum Veterum

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Much appreciated, Voi.



Really interested in seeing whether you enjoy this one more than Riza. The fun thing is that there is material on here that dates back to 2012.

ChoccyPhilly
June 8th 2020


12778 Comments


INTERESTING....

Digging: Satyr - Locus

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Glad to see you digging this one, Choc.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Great review! For me, these guys and Tuber are the most interesting bands from the Greek stoner/psychedelic rock scene at the moment.

Digging: Ozric Tentacles - Space for the Earth

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Appreciate it, Raul! Indeed, Tuber is a great band, they need to release a new album sometime soon, it's been three years already.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

That's good to hear! Btw, have you seen the Greek stoner scene documentary?

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've heard that there is such a documentary but I haven't watched it. Is it on YouTube?

ElioG
June 9th 2020


782 Comments


Yeah Mano, that's some great work mate!

ElioG
June 9th 2020


782 Comments


They are on Napalm records now, is that right?

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


12012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Appreciate the kind words, Elio! And yes, you are correct, they are on Napalm records and I think this album has been reissued.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2020


5236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

It's available on Vimeo - https://vimeo.com/317503531

It's interesting, 1000mods have been critical to other bands' decisions to tour Europe. Everyone sees them as trendsetters (also Planet of Zeus), which is fairly accurate.

Pikazilla
June 9th 2020


12761 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice

ChoccyPhilly
June 11th 2020


12778 Comments


Sadly not really my cuppa but I tried



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