After a quite ambitious start with 2012's Synthetic, Australia's Hemina returns with their second album Nebulae. And it's another recording marked by interesting arrangements, smart musicianship, and good execution.
Also, like the previous album, it's somewhat conceptual, exploring 'an as yet unnamed woman's battle and adventure through lucid dreaming to find something more than she is in her waking life, and the depths in which she will dive to find transcendence.' Okay. I get it. Perhaps they should have called the album Nebulous.
Otherwise, the music is worth exploring. Across the album the riffs are both sharp and heavy, with some massive guitar solos as within Nightlives and twice, if I'm counting correctly, in Strength. Sometimes those riffs are nearly too bulky, like to much djent is going on. That was my feeling with the shorter song Loss. It's also an example of song that uses tandem male and female vocal arrangement, but it's not the usual dirty/death vocals beside the angelic female voice. There's harmony and melody, but sometimes the pairing of Douglas Skene and Jessica Martin doesn't seem all that natural and pleasing. I had some of that reaction with, of all songs, Soulmates. But mostly, the vocals work out.
There's also a solid use of keyboards throughout Nebulae though basically in the most common way, accent, atmosphere, and a solo here and there as within Freedom. They're definitely more interesting within Otherworldly, the longest number, with noticeable synth sparkle and light piano arriving, briefly midpoint. Finally, much like the last album Hemina can be quite expansive in their longer arrangements, but seem more keen at packing the short songs with a variety of proggish twists and turns. Ultimately, while the first play and impression was notable, after a few more spins my enthusiasm waned somewhat. Mostly, I think, because the songs began to sound similar, especially in the timbre of the riffage throughout. But that's just me. I think if you enjoyed the first album, you like this one as well.
Hemina's Nebulae is marked by interesting arrangements, smart musicianship, and good execution, although after several spins of the album, my enthusiasm and interest began to wane.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]