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Need - Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom

Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 08 May 2017, 9:24 AM

Do you Prog? Do you wish you could Prog?  Don’t like Prog? Huge Prog fan?  No matter how you answer these questions or how you feel about Progressive Metal you NEED to hear this band, pun intended.   Their latest album, “Hegaiamas: A Song Of Freedom” is, quite simply, a progressive metal masterpiece.  What isn’t simple, is the songs you will find here. Throughout the album’s seven tracks, you are going to be treated with varied song structures, lots of melodies, harmonies, and anything else they can throw at you.  Despite the Prog chaos that is going on, the album never sounds cluttered or pretentious.  NEED have the musical chops of DREAM THEATER but add is lighter tones over a metal skin that reminds me of other Prog giants like ENCHANT or a less symphonic version of WILDPATH.

Jon V’s vocals are out of this world; he retains his own voice and style but he really sounds like a cross between Jorn Lande and Russell Allen from SYMPHONY X.  The way he sings comes across so powerful and emotional.  He adds touches of other styles throughout, such as a venom dripping shout in “Therianthrope” and just as quickly slides back into a croon that drips with style and swagger.  Guitarist Ravaya has just as much variety, this guy can play anything and he does so with a sharp, quick, attack as he glides effortlessly between Prog and Metal. In his own way, he too is a vocalist—he speaks with this guitar, telling a story that compliments every other element around him.  The opening seconds of “Riverthane,” might have you thinking this is a thrash band.  Before your neck has time to recover from the assault, the guitars switch crunchy riffs that throw in groove in short, accented bursts of unbound energy.  He attacks the strings until the 2:12 mark then goes into Prog bliss, playing complex riffs that would make John Petrucci smile.

Alltribe” brings his fingers all over the strings, effective and fast placed melodies whirling in and out, not unlike the more neo classical stuff of CHILDREN OF BODOM.  This playing works very well around the 2:00 minute mark when Jon V’s own melodic vocals meld into the music perfectly, as his voice rises with the increasingly intense guitar that turns into a beautiful solo.  Ravaya is a rare pro metal guitar player because he is able to make interesting riffs and solos without making it too “out there” and detracting away from the song itself. That seems to be what the band, who is already amazing at everything, excel at: writing long songs laden with Prog bliss but still are catchy and hold your attention.  There isn’t annoying ambiance or drawn out passages of mindless self-indulgence here. These guys truly do play the ultimate combination of Metal and Prog so equally that I almost can’t believe it.

Getting back to the instruments, we have Victor on bass. Not since SPIRAL ARCITHECT’S “A Skeptic’s Universe,” have I heard such amazing bass.  He stands out on every track.  His bass on “Rememory” is as hammering and pummeling as anything and it really helps capture the urgency of the song.  Often times he manages to play heavy, fast, yet melodic and bouncy.  The dude really plays all over the place, his sound fitting into an already complete puzzle but it doesn’t push anything aside; rather he is the glue that makes everything stronger. Anthony and his keyboard are another powerhouse.  There are so many great key passages on this album—he does the work of five keyboardists it seems, so much he has going on.  He is very effective at using just plain, regular clean keys and turning them into scenes unto themselves that heighten the atmosphere, such as on “Tilikum.”  Then on songs like “Alltribe,” he mixes his keys with the guitar in a furry.

Speaking of strong, the strongest track is the title track at the end.  Its 22 minutes of an epic journey that really deserves its own 700 word review.  The first quarter of the song is similar to DREAM THEATER’s heavier side of but as it goes it increases speed before energy bursts like a dam.  Their drummer Stelios kills his kit around the 10 minute mark, hitting every damn part on it; he rains down the beat like a meteor shower.  The band shows their theatrical side at the end of the song with great big back ground vocals that shine like a chorus and then it all ending with spoken word over the chanting female vocals.

This album is without a doubt one of the best albums of the year and, as far as Prog Metal goes, probably the best one.   Any fan of Progressive Rock or Metal needs to check this band and album out immediately.  Sorry but I have to say it one more time: you NEED this album.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Rememory
2. Alltribe
3. Therianthrope
4. Riverthane
5. Tilikum
6. I.O.T.A.
7. Hegaiamas
Jon V. - Vocals
Ravaya - Guitars
Anthony - Keyboards
Victor - Bass
Stelios - Drums
Record Label: Trailblazer Records


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