It is a great pleasure for me to start my series of reviews, for the 2017 releases, with NEED’s fourth album. The Athenian (Greek) progressive metallers had me craving for a new album since 2014’s “ORVAM – A Song For Home” because of the quality of their remarkable, emotionally and technically, compositions. I didn’t expect that “HEGAIAMAS ( = Η Γαία Μας = Our Earth) – A Song For Freedom” would exceed my expectations though!
The first song, “Rememory”, starts with female vocals (by the guest singer named Sapfo Stavrides) before the melodic prog metal orgy, which sounds similar to the best of EVERGREY’s works, takes over. The sound is exceptional even though most of the recordings took place in the member’s homes. “Alltribe” continues the music journey with a trippy guitar riff (by the band’s main composer Ravaya) that is accompanied by piano (by the talented Antony Hadjee). In the last two and a half minutes it gets off the ground with exquisite and melodic guitar, keyboard and drum parts.
The next song, “Therianthrope”, portrays the darker side of NEED. It includes some screaming vocals and an overall gloomy atmosphere. Jon V, the main vocalist of the band reveals his influence by NEVERMORE in “Riverthane”. A fast tempo song that includes both stunning melodies and aggressive themes, by heavily distorted guitar and keyboards.
““HEGAIAMAS: A Song For Freedom” is a landmark for the whole genre of progressive metal music of the current decade.”
“Tilikum” is a masterpiece. From the opening piano melody, to the heavy guitar riff that causes steady headbanging, all the way to the “bridge” with the ethereal female vocals, until the end. Every note, every word, is skillfully placed to create chills upon the spine of every tasteful and smart listener. A serious candidate for the best heavy metal song of the year!
After a five-minute dialog between a man and a woman (that you will probably skip after the first couple listens) called “I.O.T.A.” the homonymous track follows. This song is a twenty-two minute epic. The guitar melody at the beginning brings “Mountains” by SOCRATES to mind, while the rest of it can be compared to FATES WARNING’s arrangements. It concludes the album with the best way, with more melodic and imaginative metal music.
“HEGAIAMAS: A Song For Freedom”, is a landmark for the whole genre of progressive metal music of the current decade. An album that was long awaited by the fans of it, but could not be delivered by those fabled bands which lead this scene the last ten years. If you’re a fan of prog rock/metal or just a fan of good music, trust me you NEED to hear this!