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Hemina - Synthetic CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.94 | 233 ratings

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5 stars Hemina is a fairly new on-the-scene five-piece progressive metal band from Sydney, Australia featuring Sydney's Anubis guitarist Douglas Skene as frontman. After releasing their five track EP entitled 'As We Know It' in 2010, Hemina are gaining some well deserved attention for their debut album 'Synthetic'. With clear influences such as Ayreon, Pain of Salvation and Anathema, 'Synthetic' is sure to please Prog fans and Metal fans alike looking for something fresh.

Hemina's 'Synthetic' is a 79 minute journey that entertains and enthrals the listener from the opening track 'This Hour of Ours' until the last note on their epically lengthy final track 'Divine'. Although it is a long album, I always feel the urge to keep listening. I am a massive fan of Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Anathema and Dream Theater to name a few, so I am pleased to come across an album as dynamic and emotional as this that incorporates all the things I love about these bands with a mixture of vocal styles, including female vocals of Bassist Jessica Martin and vocals of guitarists Douglas Skene and Mitch Coull along with the warm tones of Keyboardist Phill Eltakchi.

The album takes you on a journey through an Angel's life and his struggles through his younger years until he finds love referenced in 'And Now to Find a Friend', and follows the events that lead him to take his own life in 'Hunting is for Women'. It is great to see a band that expresses such real emotion through such escapist music.

Stand out tracks for me include;

'The Boy is Dead'. This track opens with drums and haunting guitar riffs before exploding into a punching guitar riff complete with keyboards and bass. I feel that this particular song is quite unique as I can't think of another song I could compare it to. This song shows Skene's softer vocals in the verses that, contrast the heavy riffs in the choruses. There are plenty of tasteful solos in this song to satisfy. Skene depicts the emotion of the song through his well placed growls that never overstay their welcome.

'Hunting is For Women' a song that depicts a family retreat into the wilderness, where a father goes through the motions of teaching his son to hunt; to become a man without him. The song opens with the thumping of tribal drums and bass to the sound of a camp fire as it sets the scene for this leg of the Angel's journey. A minute in and you are thrusted into an atmospheric sphere, my favourite part of the song vocally, which demonstrates Douglas Skene's gentle vocals and use of imagery in his lyrics, as well as showcasing harmonies cleverly with Jessica Martin and Phill Eltakchi through the "Two of us" and "Three of us" lyrics in which there are 2 and 3 part vocals respectively. The outro is very moving as the lyrics depict a man who has given up on his life as he apologises to his son for his life's failures. The piece concludes with the imagery of shotgun fire that is deeply evocative and seems to send shivers down my spine with each listen.

Another stand out track is 'Haunting Me!'. This is a more upbeat track that further displays Hemina's diverse range of style. The chorus comes in with four-part vocal harmonies by Douglas Skene, Mitch Coull, Jessica Martin and Phill Eltakchi. A fun, energetic and emotive song in which all band members shine.

The final track 'Divine', a 13 minute epic, showcases Mitch Coull's vocals at the forefront in the first verse. It's refreshing to hear multiple singers, especially on such a long album as it helps to yield further variety on the album. 'Divine' represents everything about this band that I love with exemplary instrumentation and reprised themes. This track may be a bit on the long side for some listeners, but I find the listen worthwhile each time.

I am forever in search of fresh progressive metal acts that demonstrate as much raw emotion teamed with poetic lyrics as Hemina's debut album 'Synthetic' displays. The technical ability of all members is evident from start to finish without overstepping into wankery. I see great things for Hemina in the future and look forward to their next release. Although I have some minor qualms with the production (slightly more present bass would have been nice), 'Synthetic' is an essential addition to my CD collection and quite possibly my favourite Australian metal release.

anotherstrangerme | 5/5 |


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