Some say that the third album in a band’s career is the most crucial for the future and for many reasons Need’s third album “Orvam: A Song For Home” is both the 3rd and the most important they’ve released so far. Long story short, it’s not only the best work they have created, but also one of the finest (progressive) metal albums of this year, hands down. So, this should be the album to get the band to the next level and there lies the importance of it.
In every aspect, it is obvious that the members of the band have surpassed themselves in order to create this little masterpiece, as they recorded it on their own, they went through some painful changes and had to get by some serious obstacles to make it happen. No pain, no gain they say and not only did they manage to complete this fine work, but they recruited the infamous producer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Nevermore) to mix it and provide the little details that the album needed (pun intended). All this struggle can be found in the music and the lyrics of this record adding power and sentiment to it.
Music wise Need come from mindset that takes advantage of the freedom in creativity that progressive metal provides. They don’t exactly play by the rules of the traditional sense of the genre, but if you listen closely you’ll see the love for Dream Theater in Ravaya’s guitar playing and you’ll see the influence of Ray Alder, Warrel Dane or John Bush on Jon V’s vocals. That being said, let’s make it clear that Need’s music is much more than the sum of their influences, as they manage to create their own personal sound in the end, which is easily recognized after a few spins of the album.
The groovy opener “Lifeknot” is possibly the most accessible track of the album, meaning that you can sort it out easier than the other songs, which need to be listened a few more times to really contemplate them. Along with it, “Mother Madness” is another track that grabs you straight away, with the piano melody in the intro and a huge, catchy chorus that includes a passionate performance from Jon V. “Symmetrape” and “Construct” are also two great tracks, with odd signatures, massive grooves, strong choruses and adventurous structures that make them differ from the usual, average metal song.
But, all the magic of the album is included in the two longest songs of it, two of the best songs you’re gonna listen to this year. Firstly, “Entheogen” takes you on a drug-infused trip, as Jon talks about the visions and the experience of having your third eye opened. This song has some fantastic melodies, great playing and you really can’t tell how 10 minutes pass by. Then “Orvam” (which has the letters of the word “mavro” in opposite direction, i.e. “Black” in Greek) is a potential prog song of the year, lasting no less than 18 minutes. As the guitar melody leads to a stunning vocal line in the intro, you know it’s going to be something special and the main riff is pure genius. The song goes through many mood and rhythm changes before it comes back to the main riff and the vocal melody of the intro, backed by some brilliant strings, while the end comes with a spoken word section in Greek that leaves you speechless.
“Orvam: A Song For Home” is a masterpiece and will definitely not lose its place among the best releases of 2014 in my list. Any fan of progressive metal, but also of good/qualitative metal (no matter the genre) that thinks out of the box, should listen to it and give it the appropriate time to unveil its colors, even though in the end the black color will prevail, like on the cover of the album. If Poland has Riverside leading the way, then Greece’s equal comes with Need. May this album be the game changer in their career and the beginning of many great things to come.