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Some prog for Freedom - 94%

Livingwave17, September 13th, 2018

After experimenting with some new genres, lately I’ve been feeling the ‘Need’ to go back to basics and check some progressive stuff, which is what I’ve always enjoyed most as a genre. Conveniently, some progressive metal shows were announced in my country and it was only fitting that I check out these bands. My previous experience with Greek progressive metal has lead me to some pretty high expectations from this band, and I was really curious if they would cut it for me.

At first glance they don’t seem to go over the top in any field. They come across as a decent classic progressive band, with a sound similar to Dream Theater, though nowhere near as technical and slightly heavier. A very inspired selection of easy and comfortable melodies takes the front of the music, be it a catchy chorus, a nice vocal line or a guitar lead. This allows the music to be enjoyable to anyone, so it can even work as background music while you’re doing your homework. There’s nothing extravagant or flashy about the band, so by being a passive listener, it will take a while for the music to grow on you. However, when you start peeling the layers of Need’s progressive metal puzzle, that’s when the going turns sweet. The only reason why this music doesn’t seem very complex or creative at first is because it is so balanced, that no element in this album takes its toll on the listener. It doesn’t leap at you with flamboyant shreds or extreme time signatures, so it isn’t tiresome nor challenging in any way. But if you look under the friendly surface of the music, you will see the mountains of skills and creativity that lurk in the depths for all the nerdy prog maniacs and their obsessions.

I just wanted to point out that ‘Hegaiamas’ is very well put together and it doesn’t address to a small niche of pretentious people, despite still being a properly evolved and intellectual release. This means that I’m not only talking to my fellow proggers. This goes out to every metal or rock enthusiast out there and says that you can find a lot of satisfaction in this album. But with my point made, I find it hard to resist the temptation of going deeper into this record and showing a bit of what I could unveil from all the different aspects of this masterful record.

Need are a band that can reach and breach limits of creativity while remaining discrete, so it’s quite impressive to hear how so many different ideas found their place in the big picture and kept the music on track, flowing naturally from an idea to another. The album is made up of 5 rather long tracks in the first part followed by an interlude that leads into the massive title track. The first part of the album showcases Need’s need to experiment and attempt different styles and ideas. From the first track we can see an intricate blend of cinematic instrumentals and a very well suited vocal performance that follows a clear and well defined song structure. The verses and choruses are obvious and catchy, but lots of sprinkles and bridges make their way in the songs to create an amazing dynamic, where new ideas constantly emerge. Lots of polyrhythm structures come contrasting between melodies and drums, with also a proper audible and penetrating bass performance that still has my jaw glued to the floor after one too many spins of the album. In terms of just instrumental mastery, nobody is left behind. Solos can be found both on guitars, with some really emotional and hair raising melodies, as well as the impressive keyboard work coming at you with the typical technical style alongside awesome piano tunes. And so many personalities show up from this awesome instrumental work. Songs like Alltribe, and Riverthane are more fast-paced and dynamic while ‘Therianthrope’ and ‘Tilikum’ slow down for some proper head-bang inducing riffs.

On the vocal side, there aren’t any extremely high notes or over the top screams, so there’s nothing that will cause that awkward jaw-drop on ‘Britain’s got Talent’, but it expresses every emotion in the record flawlessly and really gets under your skin. Talk about a good delivery. Surprises come also with some fill-in screams and the female vocals that show up at some points in the record. These sections in particular create a really special dynamic between the two singers. Obviously there’s no doubt that ‘Need’ have nailed the vocals as well as everything else, and my attention to the vocals leads me into the concept. They definitely like to challenge people when it comes to their message, and it takes some time to put together what this album is about. There are a lot of philosophic debates about freedom and what stays in the way of achieving it. The song ‘IOTA’ showcases the concept best with a dialogue between two characters, and while it seemed a bit off putting at start, I quickly grasped its value. The narration is very inspiring and it’s backed by a really nice and dramatic piano ambiance. I especially love how it leads into the title track.

This epic closer could take up another huge rant, but I feel I’m going a bit too far with it. One thing I will say is that after another collection of endless various ideas, I love the way this monster song comes to an end. For the final bit, ‘Need’ tosses aside all of their intricacies and ingenious songwriting to let a powerful anthem shine through, accompanied by a reprise of the female vocals in the very beginning of the album. I know… such a pretentious typical prog thing to do. But I trust that you won’t bat an eye at whether the guys are pretentious or not after you’ve heard what music they have created. The song for freedom is definitely the best prog album I’ve heard in quite a long time, so do yourself a favor, and check out their stuff at the link below. If it’s too much to go through a 60 minute album, have no worry, it can still just create an ambiance while you wash the dishes. And I do hope you like it and choose to support the band and share further!

Enjoy!

https://needband.bandcamp.com/album/hegaiamas-a-song-for-freedom