Hemina - Nebulae review
|Release date:||August 2014|
"Love is a friendship set to music." — Joseph Campbell
Probably one of the most genuine progressive metal albums since... their last album.
After the criminally under-appreciated Synthetic, the Aussie quartet Hemina have returned and put together another emotional masterpiece. With talent that a larger band would struggle to replicate, we are graced with the dual-harmony juggernaut that is Douglas Skene and Jessica Martin. Where other bands would have to outsource their vocal duties to compete, Hemina present their mind-blowing vocal range and unmatched passion in-house with founding leader Doug on guitar/keyboards and Jessica on bass. Probably the greatest improvement from the last album is the guitar-work, with heavier rhythms and leads courtesy of the phenomenal Mitch Coull. The icing on this progverbial cake is the atmospheric keyboard layering of Phill Eltakchi, who continues to impress with his inventive ideas and classic solos. Building on all these great parameters, we find a solid backbone in the session work of Edwin Saute returning on the skins, although I felt his performance deserved to be a bit higher in the mix.
Adding a little more fire to their style, you instantly notice that this album is going to be another structured concept rewarding a patient listener. Metalheads looking for a more brutal, generic approach will float out earlier and probably write it off as another alienating prog/power metal confirmation. Fans of Leprous, Kamelot, Caligula's Horse, and Voyager, are strongly encouraged to let the melodies and climactic falsettos caress and grow in your ears.
Dysthymic and low, there is an feeling of melancholy laced throughout the lyrics early on. The familiar longing of dreams and astral loneliness is represented, as you feel the tinge of pain splinter your heart. Obscuring the view, we are redirected into an absolute banger of a tune crying for a sense of freedom that has always been within reach.
When I first listened to "Lust" I was caught off guard, with it's funky-lounge sexuality. Then I remembered this was the band that covered one of the most sensual metal songs ever, Type O Negative's "Love You Death". This type of passion comes through and comes easy, given the relational interface of the band. I won't comment any more on this aphrodisiac of a song, as it something that needs to be heard and have love made to. (If you can't pick someone out from across the room, go to the grocer and pick out a grapefruit).
Please let down your silk robe, goddamn that's a sexy song. Octaves that would make the King jealous. (Diamond)
Then you find your soulmate. This song I was not a fan of at first as it was too soft, but as it turns out it finally became one of my favorites. Call it girlfriend metal if you want, you aren't going to get prog metal more honest than this. Here I will give my recommendation, listen to the album once through based on the merit of the musical enjoyment. Second time though, read the lyrics along with it. /Frisson
Funny how once you feel that love of another, or a bit of self-worth/esteem you can convey that confidence that had always been missing. Oh, wait, we are doing a music review. "Strength" is the strongest song of the album with blistering guitar and keyboard work, that will have you headbanging otherworldly. The dual melodies of our favorite couple ricochet against the bouncy low-end and all come to a head in a shredding metal worshipping of Doug's higher register angel voice.
As a "Promise" is made. I see the potential inside, this band will be one of the best, if not THE best, progressive metal acts in coming years. Alongside Riverside, Shaolin Death Squad, Threshold, Seventh Wonder, Myrath, and Distorted Harmony. Those fond of concepts and stories à la Ayreon should fall in love with the honest passion on display between Doug & Jessica, let alone the entire Straya grouping.
"An Innocent Friendship The Start Of Him And Her"
||Written on 02.09.2014 by Intermittent reviewer, full-time listener.|
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