Greetings, and welcome to the second ever Thinking Man’s Thursday! Much like our other sub-genre specific weekly columns (Funeral Doom Friday, The Monday Grind, etc), both myself and my colleague-in-prog Daniel Cordova will traverse the worlds of progressive metal and rock to bring you newly discovered bands, forgotten classics, previews of upcoming releases, and whatever else feels right. Basically, we're just going to nerd over some prog, and we do mean all prog! Anything from bands who take after the classics like Ayreon and Dream Theater, all the way to the experimentally heavy masters Sigh and Meshuggah, we're into it, and we're going to show you it.
So let's take a look at Athens, Greece's Need this week, yeah?
The parallels to be drawn between Need and other similar bands are numerous. I've seen comparisons to Fates Warning, Pain of Salvation, Symphony X, Evergrey, definitely a little bit of Ayreon in there, Ark, and even Nevermore, to which I think it's safe to say they're all extremely accurate. Need is a band that coves an enormous expanse of genres within the progressive rock and metal world, but allows all these influences to gravitate around a very central and unique Need sound, instead of allowing it all to orbit wildly out of control into some contrived mess of an album.
So what is that central Need sound? Simply put, it's heavy progressive music that allows that rhythm section just as much space as the guitars and tops everything off with vocals that perfectly fill the spaces left by the band. Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom is a shining example of how to properly utilize an entire band in such a way that no matter whats going on in any given song, all the instruments are playing a role in the bigger picture, and are clearly audible.
Of course, this being a progressive rock/metal album, after all the twists and turns strewn throughout the entire album, Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom closes with a nearly 22-minute track. It's a journey, but Need manages to make the entire run time feel like one elongated composition that encompasses everything it'd been doing throughout the album, which really wraps things up nicely.
Don't take my word for it. Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom is out now, and you can stream it below.