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Hemina - Nebulae CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.86 | 147 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I've heard from several sources that 2014 has been a great year for progressive metal. Yet, I can count the releases I've really enjoyed on one hand! Enter Hemina. This Aussie band released an amazingly complex grower of an album a few years back wherein they combined brutal riffs with incredibly spacey keys. Well, these guys (and gal) are back with "Nebulae", and they have upped their game in every imaginable way, too.

Hemina loves concept albums, and, for the first way they have improved, I feel like their album concept is stronger and particularly more concise. "Nebulae" is a story about apathy and meaninglessness giving way to love and fullness of joy. You can certainly feel the love between the two primary vocalists, Douglas and Jessica (lovers in real life). If there is one emotion that hits the listener hard between the eyes, it is the palpable love that simply flows from the passion and lyrics in this album. I must take a moment, however, and talk about the pure quality of the vocalists here. Douglas has the voice of an angel. Huge highs and groovy lows are nothing for him, and his voice is tinged with a quality that is so sincere and so real. Jessica, his counterpart, also has an extremely melodic voice. Hearing these two sing together is a real treat that no one should miss, especially when their voices are so strong in the mix.

Yet, the music is equally noteworthy. Again, we get brutal, inventive riffs from Douglas and Mitch, plus we are treated to the best keys I've heard so far in 2014. Phill's keys twirl and swirl in, out, and around the guitar play, creating a sense of elation and fullness of sound. On top of this foundation, though, the band goes out on a limb here and there, such as in the amazing song "Lust", which dabbles in 70's funk and also showcases Jessica's great bass skills. From their dark fascinations in "Freedom" and their depictions of shallowness in "Nightlives" to their powerful epic "Strength" and the ballad "Soulmates", this album is endowed with richness, deliberate pacing, and clear inspiration. As "Nebulae" was originally meant to be an EP, the band must have really stumbled onto some great ideas somewhere. It has really paid off in spades.

My favorite tracks are definitely "Lust" and "Strength", and for entirely different reasons. While the former has amazing groove and headbang-ability, the latter has the spacey theatrics that I was truly hoping for in this album. I'm honestly flabbergasted by this album, and I can't really think of anything bad to say about it. If anything, the album could have been a little shorter, but that's nitpicking at best. "Nebulae" has joined the very few progressive metal albums in 2014 that have impressed me at all, and it has joined one other album (Distorted Harmony's "Chain Reaction") in the list of prog metal albums that have been truly outstanding this year. This is a must-hear for metal fans and rock fans alike, as both will find complexity, melody, and memorability herein. Thanks to the band for the promotional copy.

4.5 stars

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |


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