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Need - Orvam - A Song for Home CD (album) cover

ORVAM - A SONG FOR HOME

Need

 

Progressive Metal

3.88 | 16 ratings

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Aldebaran_Well
4 stars If you are looking for a progressive metal group that 100% justifies these two terms equally or for sophisticated metal music that will make you bang your head with pride, your search is over! Need is the band you were looking for.

Five years have passed since their second album ''Siamese God'' and the Athenians strike back, at last. I don't know why it took them so long but I'm certain that in the meantime they worked really hard. You see, though their previous efforts were really good albums, ''Orvam'' expands their horizons (and ours too), achieving something that you don't find easily nowadays: personal sound. There is a scent of freshness coming out from Orvam's every note, something that words can't capture. It's the band's energy, passion, creativity and love for art.

It's not difficult to guess some of their influences. My ears realize music inspired by Metallica-oriented riffs, Pantera grooves, new rock/alternative elements, a prog touch from Seattle (Nevermore/Queensryche, is it because of Neil Kernon's magic mix?) and Pain of Salvation's dramatic melodies. But, if there is only one band with somehow similar attitude, this would be Psychotic Waltz. I think that Need are really influenced by P.W, not in sound but in mentality. As I already said, all of the above are mixed in Need's special, unique blend. Heaviness, melody, technicality and intellectuality are served in the right portions and everything is in balance. Obviously, it's the band's impressive songwriting skills we have to thank. The songs range from 3 to 18 minutes but nothing tired or bored me, they are 7 small, perfect circles of music.

Hats off to the musicians: K.K & Pete are Need's new members and oh, what a delightful first presence this is! Their rhythmic section is performed with crystal precision and ever- pounding power, these guys are skillful and unrestrained. (I especially liked the way Pete plays his cymbals.) Anthony Hatzis' keyboard work is responsible for some of Orvam's most interesting shades. Classic prog sounds, soft jazz passages, a bit of classical music, inspirations from Manos Chatzidakes and, yes, a short glimpse of Kevin Moore's ghost! Ravaya, the band's mastermind and original member, stands as first among equals. The riffs he creates are so well balanced between straight grooves and complexity that he almost left me wondering. At least four riffs of the album (the basic ones in Lifeknot, Symmetrape, Mother Madness and Orvam) are amongst the best I've heard in metal music in recent years, probably since Machine Head's ''The Blackening''. I saved Jon V. for last. During the first listen, his rough voice did not appeal that much to me. It took me a while to realize that this guy has a wonderful range and that his performances are overflowing with energy, being always part of the music. Some minor issues with his accent (a common problem of all Greek singers) but no big deal really. No one in Need has the vanity to try and step out of the team, the band plays as a single entity.

'and the 59 minutes of Orvam flow sweetly as a cool river in a hot day! ''Lifeknot'' kicks off the album with a short electronic loop and when the first titan riff steps in, attention is perfectly caught. The verse sounds almost like hard rock but the Queensryche-like bridge reminds us that we stand in prog territory. There's a wonderful piano in the middle of the song, a thrashy storming part and an excellent emotional outburst before the song is through. ''Entheogen'' begins surprisingly with a traditional greek scale and retains an ethnic and spiritual character throughout its 10 minutes. There's a very special feeling in this track, featuring technical leads, female vocals, polyphonic innovating vocal lines, major mood and a very soulful climax. ''Symmetrape'' is next and'what a riff! Strangely structured song, many sounds will caress your ears: melancholic chorus, heavy pianos, dark and jazzy parts, weird solos, growling vocals for a moment and an unexpected, brilliant ending. The intro of ''Mother Madness'' is melodic and wonderful, leading to an unbelievable riff, an instant classic for me. The song evolves into a Nevermore inspired maze, highlighted by the jamming part in the middle and the magnificent, passionate performance of Jon. ''Construct'' is probably the album's heaviest track, up tempo and dynamic but if you listen closely it's the keys that provide the song's special character, depth and color. ''Hotel Oniro'' is more like an interlude, an atmospheric piece of music serving as the background of a sad but beautiful dialogue (European filmmakers came to my mind listening to this). It also sets the stage for the 18 minutes long album title track ''Orvam'', which in my opinion is not only the album's highlight but an outstanding moment of contemporary progressive metal in general. It has a very epic opening with traditional scales again, flowing keys, bells etc., bringing to mind the epic moments of Rush. The song is normal until its 5th minute and then there's a fantastic, tension-building improvisation part with a dramatic turn. At some time, things go major and technical, reminding of Rush again and a bit of Townsend's Terria, leading to a majestic end. I won't spoil the 2 minutes of the outro; you have to discover it yourselves. My only comment is that the actor Akilis Karazisis' voice (not the first time to collaborate with Need) is the proof that the human soul has one, universal language. Feel it. Ravaya's words are breathtaking and that piano will haunt you' (Guys, why don't you release a whole album like this?)

Last but not least. Need's lyrics are simply beautiful. There is a political, philosophical and artistic essence inside these words. Dive into the band's concept and you will be rewarded. For your information, the word Orvam is ''Mavro'' written backwards, meaning ''Black''.

If the prog world is fair, Need will gain a wider recognition after this one. In my opinion, they have what it takes to succeed further, artistically and commercially. They have the talent, the passion and the guts and my sixth sense says that they're heading for their masterpiece. If you like uncompromising modern prog metal, give this a try. It will grow inside you. To those fortunate who will attend ProgPower 2014, give Need a warm welcome. Well done to Need and please, don't let us wait another five years! 86/100. 4 black stars.

Aldebaran_Well | 4/5 |

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