Need are Greece’s leading prog metal group and are made up of Jon Voyager (vocals), George Ravaya (guitar, vocals), Anthony Hadjee (keyboards, vocals), Stelios Paschalis (drums) and Viktor Kouloubis (bass). The quintet have recently released a new album, “Norcestrion: A Song For the End” their fifth and follow up to “Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom”.
The band have supported Fates Warning, Pain of Salvation, and Coroner in Greece and opened for bands like Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Mastodon and Gojira in the Greek edition of Sonisphere Festival. They have also toured across the USA, Canada, and then Europe with Sweden’s Evergrey.
The initial track `Avia` begins with a distant vocal expressing the proclamation or calling in the opening lyrics of” Pave the way and I will follow you there, i`m right behind you” before drums, bass and guitar lead us along a sweetly melodic journey. The lyrics could be interpreted as having religious connotations and Avia is related to the Hebrew names Abiah and Aviana meaning “God is my father”. There`s some intricate guitar chords and elaborate keys as the song progresses with its questioning vocals as the number rises and falls before coming to a quietly shared culmination. There`s a more pulsating texture to `Beckethead` a number that seems to relate to seeking a direction from a life that seems lost and floundering. We enjoy some delicate piano and guitar riffs as well as some more almost aggressively throbbing ones at times. The music possibly reflecting the crossroads that the narrator has reached.
`Nemmortal` is a strange one. It is quite musically heavy and assertive at times but does have a section in the later part where there`s some almost tribal drumming, whispered, hummed vocals and complex guitar chords. Lyrically it`s difficult to decipher but it seems that the narrator has taken on the pain, suffering and failure of a previous generation and as they relate” I’ve become so dark, dark and sinister”. We have a fast paced nigh on speed metal beginning to `Bloodlux` before it takes a more anthemic pace with intricate guitar riffs spliced in at times and vocals that seem to relate to questioning the path the faithful have taken towards a dream or goal promised that now seems almost hopeless.
`V.a.d.i.s.` is a real strange break from the musical onslaught. A spoken word conversation seemingly referring to the apocalypse shared between two women with a synth like refrain filling in the background. An unnecessary distraction in my opinion which added nothing to the album overall. As `Norchestrion` is just under ten minutes in length, it`s like a small outing within an extended trek. It opens with quietly sung vocals against some elaborate guitar chords and piano tinkling before a more robust heavy sound overtakes it. We have some growled vocals before a dreamier section arrives and with some heavier parts interwoven, sees the track out. An abstract story possibly of despair where hope is the elixir or drug of choice, something that holds the narrator together on this trail of twists, turns and ups and downs.
`Circadian` is apparently the biological processes of recurring naturally on a twenty-four-hour cycle, even in the absence of light fluctuations. It does appear lyrically within this further muscularly belligerent musical cacophony. Maybe it refers to a respite before the storm. That storm possibly being `Ananke` which follows in all it`s just under nineteen-minute glory. Ananke was the ancient Greek goddess of necessity, compulsion, and inevitability. She was considered the most powerful dictator of fate and circumstance; mortals as well as gods respected her power and paid her homage. This opus begins gently and peacefully before it builds as it progresses.
The album closes out with the evocative `Kinwind` a mysterious atmospheric vocal chant that is wonderfully mesmerising and an innovative way of closing the circle of this epic release.
I really enjoyed this submission from Need. The songs were well constructed by some talented and seasoned musicians alongside a vocalist who can offer a tender delivery one moment then a more hostile one the next. I wasn`t sure if it was quite a concept album relating to a perceived deterioration in society, but it certainly had a surreal theme running throughout it.
This was progressive metal at its best and if you`re a fan of Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation, i`m sure you`ll enjoy this.
Rating 8.5 /10