Villagers of Ioannina City: Zvara/Karakolia by Anthony Perconti

Punk Noir Magazine

One of the wonders of living in the digital age is the ability to practically stumble across great bands that you would not have had the opportunity to do so during analog’s reign. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hell out of wax. Everything from the warm sound, the cracks and pops, and the expanded cover art all add so much charm to the object. Music shops (especially those second-hand record shops) are like used book stores for me: they are labyrinths to get lost in for hours and hours, with the hope that you make it out with a small horde of treasures. But if analog’s strength is a quality physical product, the digital medium provides access to countless bands, scattered throughout the world. In many cases free of charge. The band, Villagers of Ioannina City, hail from the mountains of Epirus, Greece. They are a doom/ psychedelic metal band that infuses their heavy riffs with traditional instruments. Take for example their song, “Zvara.” This combination of plodding sonic sludge, coupled with wailing clarinets is absolutely trance inducing. “Karakolia” opens with some bouzouki (or is it mandolin?) chords and goes real heavy, real quick. All throughout “Karakolia,” that traditional stringed instrument is ever present, acting as a spine to the vocals, drumbeats and doom-laden guitars. I admittedly don’t speak a single damn word of the Greek language, so I have no idea what the lyrics mean. For all I know, singer Alex Karametis could be reciting his grandmother’s famous grilled sardine recipe (lemon, mint, olive oil). All kidding aside though, that is the innate power of music. It has the ability to convey moods, feelings and emotions, irrespective of the fact that the listener can understand the language. When I groove to Zvara/Karakolia I am transported to a land of rugged mountains, warm sunshine and wine-dark seas. Where heroes cross dangerous waters and pit their wits, mitts and wiles against all manner of adversaries. Villagers of Ioannina City may very well be the inventors of Homeric psychedelic metal and we are all the richer for it.

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