So for my first ever unknown artist review I shall be looking at Ilias and his album Somewhere in Time. When on my usual random clicking blitz on bandcamp I decided I was feeling in a predominantly alternative mood, so when I stumbled across the relaxed styling’s of singer/songwriter Ilias I knew I’d found what I was looking for.
You’re instantly hit with haunting vocals and backing which immediately zone you out and make you feel very chilled. If I had to pull up a sound that was very similar to it I would probably go for Bon Iver however, Illias does seem to have a very original sound overall.
When I tracked down Ilias’ Facebook page and found that one of his influences was the Bee Gee’s, I couldn’t help but immediately start picking up their vibes in his music through the vocals which mess with harmonies, pitch shifts and all sorts of vocal wizardry. I do feel sometimes the music and the vocals don’t quite click together and merge into one sonic landscape, for at times, the voice zaps me out of the music a little bit whereas I would prefer it to pull me in a little more and really immerse me. It should be stressed however, the quality of merging voice and backing into one is a very difficult venture and is very rarely achieved, but I feel with time Ilias could really nail this down and create some mind blowing stuff. The album itself fits very nicely together with great song selections which complement each other very well, so well in fact that at times I found myself completely lost in the music and revelling in the beauty of it.
I think particular homage has to paid to the quality of the guitar playing in this which is absolutely phenomenal. As a guitarist of nine years who stills plays very enthusiastically, I can’t help but have some serious envy at his wonderful balance of wailing guitar fading in and out, delicate little riffs and seductive vibrato. This is why personally September Memory has to be the outstanding sound of the album for it is honestly some of the best guitar I have ever heard. He may not be Joe Satriani or Van Halen but I’m pretty sure he could easily waltz into a room with BB King or Eric Johnson and not feel the slightest bit intimidated. He just seems to understand silence, timbre and all the little details of guitar which make for, dare I say, virtuoso qualities.
The greatest question which emerges for me in listening to Somewhere in Time is which direction Ilias goes from here. Does he build on the qualities of hypnotising his reads and create deep, layered music? Or focus on being a little bluesier and introducing the guitar a little more into his music? Personally I feel he could either way to great effect and create wonderful music or perhaps merge the two styles. I think there is great potential for Ilias to create some amazing music, which whilst it won’t be mainstream could definitely attract a very loyal cult crowd.
I would heartily recommend Somewhere in Time and I know for sure I shall listening to it fervently through the comings days and fall asleep blissfully about a million times throughout.
Find Ilias on Bandcamp: http://ilias.bandcamp.com/album/somewhere-in-time
Ilias’ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tamalocal?fref=ts
Follow me on Twitter: @Philip_A_Bell