Need - Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom album review

Greek progressive metallers’ democratic debate.

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In their four-album career, Athenians Need have been compared to Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Nevermore and a gloved-handful of other prog metal warlocks.

These are fair touchpoints for a band that seem to thrive at the axis of melodic prowess and rhythmic misdirection, but whereas previous releases have been considered worthy, if not innovative, additions to the genre, Hegaiamas… is more accomplished. A concept album, it ponders themes of liberty and the enclosing mental governance facing humanity in the age of communication. ‘You’re thinking with your brain again’, chastises one of the characters in the album’s narrative, penultimate track Iota. Narrative sections are so often hammy, poorly scripted and detrimental to a collection, but while Iota and its ilk do occasionally sound like Stephen Toast reciting Bernard Cornwell, they’re thought-provoking enough to have you pondering some big themes – not least the evolution of man from animal, to democratic champion and back into drawling smartphone monkey. And for those that prefer a pulse to polemics, it’s delivered in a finely-mastered mix of scooped-out metal tones, animated song structures and stunning musicianship.