Looking forward to the future, Athens ensemble deliver “A Song For Freedom” but find a haze on the horizon.
As diverse as the genres are, prog rock and heavy metal have been pre-occupied with big ideas for a few decades now, yet this Greek band tend to discard such an approach on their fourth album favoring old-school emotionality instead of whatever concept there may lurk. Once “Rememory” has sprung ravishing riffs through its fascinating folk facade for an initially cold veneer to crumble before hot, haunting lust that soils Arcadian romanticism in an ancient mythology way which both GENESIS and WHITESNAKE aficionados should eagerly embrace, so the usual stylistic aloofness is banished from here. While “Therianthrope” explores dark recesses of one’s soul to pitch colorful vocal harmonies into the black, “Alltribe” reveals a certain abstract soaring, guitar-wise, but the very same instrument casts a dance spell over space and time.
Although the cosmogony turns literal in “I.O.T.A.” whose spoken-word dialogue, set to a mercurial piano backdrop, is focused on philosophizing, the sludge and doomsday darkness of “Tilikum” can suggest the quintet aren’t strangers to simpler, stoner ventures so typical for our era. The chant and roar in its midst render the piece enchanting despite all the spikes that bass and drum aim at vocals, with female-voice incantations making the mix majestic, but it’s “Riverthane” where the molten attack and vulnerability align most perfectly… until a 22-minute title track, epic amongst lesser epics, unfurls to reveal a cavalcade of grooves and aural images – alternately translucent and thickly layered thanks to adventurous daubs from keyboards and short solos from each player – which indeed bring on, on an exhilarating chorus and Eastern prayer, a sense of liberation. It’s impossible to ignore the spirituality of this style-straddling work, one to be considered a milestone of its genre.