Need | Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom | Album Review February 2017
Need | Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom
Label : Trailblazer Records (Greece/Europe), Laser’s Edge (USA)
Release Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Jon V. – Vocals
Ravaya – Guitars
Anthony – Keyboards
Victor – Bass
Stelios – Drums
Lasers Edge Official Need – Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom Profile
Along the north central portion of the Mediterranean Sea, tucked in between the Ionian and Aegian Sea’s lies a country that has been called The Cradle Of Western Civilisation, this being Greece. This peninsula has served as some of the most significant events in the history of the world. It gave birth to democracy, set an example that even city states can come together under one country, one constitution and one currency.
Greece at one point was even the center of the worlds intelligence, scientists, artists, etc… When men like Plato, Aristotle, Arcimedes or Euclid would of ever known just how their lasting legacy’s would eventually make into modern music and its various genres and culture’s. In a global progressive metal community, Greece has been one of the main pillars and beacons within the community. Recent metal bands beginning there journey out of Greece are Wastefall – (2003-2008), Rotting Christ – (1987) Septicflesh – (1990), Dakyra – (2004). A few progressive/power metal acts that have risen out of Greece are Firewind, Seduce The Heaven, Sunburst, Groove Therapist and now NEED.
NEED are Greece’s answer to Dream Theater, Opeth, Fates Warning and O.S.I all rolled into one band. Founded in 2004 with Ravaya – Guitars leading the band, they released they released their first promo CD “avoidinme”. Soon after that the band would endure quite a few personnel changes and tour with bands such as Zenith – (Denmark), Candlemass, Jon Oliva’s Pain, Dead Soul Tribe, Threshold , etc .. NEED would go on to play at the 15th Anniversary of 2014’s Prog/Power USA in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. On that bill they would open in support of Jon Oliva’s Pain, Overkill, Pain Of Salvation, Leperous, etc .. The band would ultimately settle around its current line up and in 2016 release Hegaiamas : A Song For Freedom.
On Hegaiamas : A Song For Freedom , NEED display’s a clinic on the execution of time signatures, chord progressions and heavy progressive atmospheres. Throughout its seven songs, the band includes many elements and theories that are utilized within the progressive metal community. Some of the progressive trademarks ultimately coming together into the 21 + minute epic Hegaiamas. Without any further delay I am going to do a track to track analysis of NEED’s Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom.
Rememory opens up with a beautiful female voice in the first verse of the song. It soon goes into a rhythmic section explosion before a beautiful vintage Hammond Organ gives the track further depth. The depth of the opening rhythmic section and riffs are met with great sophistication and ferocity. This track displays the band immediately getting both new progressive metal fans through a old school progressive rock mindset. There are various breaks in between the fierce rhythmic chord progressions. Those breaks allow for the track and composition to breathe so the listener can digest the product.
Alltribe bleeds seamlessly well off of Rememory, almost in a conceptual manner. It is a very guitar driven introduction to the track with multiple progressive riffs and chord progressions within the passages. The guitar takes on several dimensions between a lead guitar and rhythm guitar. The drum and bass really allow for the rhythm guitar to pop and be present. The vocals are wonderfully done on the backdrop of the rhythm section almost like a Vanden Plas meets later Fates Warning style. The keyboards treat the stringed section with class playing alongside the lead guitar portions.
Theraintherope begins with a heavy avant garde passage before taking off into a very blistering chord progression. When the chord progression takes off it does so in the vein of Opeth or Bewteen The Buried And Me with death style growls in harmony with the cleaner lead vocals. This is a more modern by utilizing both a death vocal growl and a cleaner vocal running in harmony to one another. This makes the band very relevant in today’s progressive metal community. The guitar and keyboards really serve this track with a futuristic vibe about the track. The futuristic effect also really serves the death growls up more as a instrument than a lyrical style vocal. The guitar solo’s build upon this and form a very lush atmosphere to the song.
Riverthane starts off with a thunderous thrash metal style of chord progression. It is very brutal in its very nature. Once again their are subtle death growls in the backdrop to help anchor the vocal as well as the instrumental half of the thunderous riffs and passages. There is also the same rhythm guitar parts and keyboard portions that were present in the song before Theraintherope. The clean vocals are really strong in this one and perfectly compliment both the instrumental stringed and instrument rhythm sections. Towards the middle there is almost a effect like people are in serious distress. Ravaya – Guitars, certainly channels his inner Jim Matheos of Fates Warning on this one. Towards the end the song comes off like Fates Warning’s Disconnected .
Tilikum starts off very melancholic sound on the piano with effects as if children are playing in the background. This is met in harmony with the lead vocal coming in very soon after that. The track then takes another thunderous turn down towards a very heavy handed rhythmic section between the bass/drum/guitar. This track shows that the band can also utilize backing vocals perfectly with lead with both clean and death growl vocals present. Towards the end the song comes off like Fates Warning’s Disconnected meets Opeth’s Blackwater Park meets Within Temptation’s Mother Earth.
I.O.T.A. is a very eloquent track. This is a spoken word track. It is as if the band are setting up a conceptual story with the final track Hemigaias. There is a beautiful melancholic piano passage present while this spoken word dialogue is happening. It is a dialogue between a woman and a man.
Hegaiamas is the epic of the album. This one clocks in at 21:52, a key signature to progressive rock or metal. This opens up with a short guitar solo with complex keyboard passages and vocal harmonies. It soon takes off with several time signatures and chord progressions building up to a climatic standard that progressive music is notorious for. There are some nice and very appropriate breaks for the vocals to come in with various chord progressions between the stringed and rhythm sections. The track really takes on some blistering time signatures at the 4:00 mark leading the track into a adventure for the listener. The keyboards sound much like Derek Sherinian meets Jordan Rudess in many ways. This track remains very busy as to not allowing for the listener to ever get bored with it.The guitar brings various dimensions to this giving the listener the audio appearance of various songs rolled into one. There are some really great harmonies building on top of multiple time signatures throughout the song.
Need Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom is one more example of the natural evolution of progressive rock and metal. This band may carry many influences however they create the own original sound with those influences. You can tell that there is a full band democracy working within the creative process. Like a fine wine they open up every song for the listener and allow it to breathe so the listener can appreciate the music at its maximum capacity. I give Need Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom a 5/5.