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Hemina Venus album cover
3.81 | 106 ratings | 8 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fantasy (6:12)
2. Expect the Unexpected (3:23)
3. High Kite Ride (9:07)
4. Moonlight Bride (4:40)
5. Venus (11:12)
6. The Collective Unconscious (3:32)
7. Secret's Safe (7:14)
8. Starbreeze (3:24)
9. I (10:41)
10. Dream State of Mind (7:08)
11. Down Will Come Baby (12:01)

Total Time 78:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Douglas Skene / vocals, guitar, keyboards, production & mixing
- Mitch Coull / guitar, vocals
- Jessica Martin / bass, vocals
- Nathan McMahon / drums, vocals

- Jimmy Garden / tenor & alto saxophones (2,4,10)
- John "Daddy Webbo" Webster / trumpet (4,9)
- Sarah Cathleen Henderson / flute (5)
- Edwin Saute / percussion (11)
- Shane Ian Leadbeater
- Samuel Joseph / gang vocals
- Selin Akbaşoğulları / chorus vocals
- Reece Denton / chorus vocals
- Stephanie Orellana / chorus vocals
- Bugsy S.S. Edwards / effects

Releases information

Artwork: Tristan Tait with Mitch Booth (logo)

CD This Sound Recording ‎- HEM001 (2016, Australia)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HEMINA Venus ratings distribution

(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

HEMINA Venus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars 9.5/10 - Originally written for

Back in 2012, I was floored by an album from Aussie progressive metal band Hemina. Their debut "Synthetic" was so innovative in that it combined psychedelic space rock with prog metal, among other things. Fast forward to 2014, and their second release "Nebulae" saw them focus a bit more, while also expanding their palette. Now, they are back again with the glorious new album "Venus", and I can state without a single doubt that this is their best album yet.

Hemina is one of the most varied and diverse progressive metal bands out there. Each albums sees them trying new things and adding new genres to the mix. They have matured so much over the years. They went from a spacey progressive metal band with this constantly driving riffage on "Synthetic" to a band that can throw in a little funk or soul on "Nebulae" to masters of combining any and all genres with their increasingly heavy sound on "Venus". They do all of this seamlessly.

Their basic sound is a dense, djent-oriented progressive metal that, unlike other bands out there, does not focus on the syncopation or polyrhythms. Instead, these are but a foundation for all their other offerings. On "Venus", you'll hear plenty of jazzy sax and bluesy guitars, symphonic prog sections, huge key-driven orchestral movements, pastoral flute, and more surreal 80's style new wave inspirations. From beginning to end, they make all of this work like few other bands could.

"Venus" is therefore the band's most fully realized, wholly composed album to date. If I had a criticism for their first album, it would be that it was unrelenting in its heaviness and drive, sometimes blurring the songs together. "Nebulae" fixed much of that, but "Venus" has brought their maturation full circle. Each album has oozed more and more delicious musical space. Their djenty riffing can definitely be rather dense and complicated to fathom at points, but the band has clearly begun to understand the amazing feeling of adding space to their music that fully immerses the listener in the journey.

Who are these guys (and gal)? Hemina consists of Douglas Skene on lead vocals, guitars, and keys; Mitch Coull on guitars and vocals; Jessica Skene on bass and vocals; and newcomer Nathan McMahon on drums and vocals. Yes, they all sing, though Douglas is the lead singer. There are also various guests who make appearances throughout the album to provide the sax, trumpet, flute, and choirs. Now, the band states in their official promo bio that the lineup is reinvigorated, and I feel it really does show. Their bio wasn't just spewing BS here. The performances are energetic and the songs are all awesome individually due to loads of great ideas and just this feeling like the band is really having fun. One of the more significant changes is that Douglas is now providing the keys and also new member Nathan is handling drums. These changes are vital to this album.

The performances here are second to none. Douglas and Mitch lay down some incredibly mind-blowing guitar work, especially on the unpredictable djent-based riffs. Jessica is a very underappreciated bassist, keeping up handily with the guitars. Nathan's drums do indeed breathe new life into the rhythm section here, and he is very mature in the way he can navigate the genre changes. Finally, despite having a super strong history of keys (including one of my favorite keyboard lines ever on "The Boy is Dead" off their debut), I have to admit that the keys are overall much stronger than they have ever been, thanks to Douglas. My brain picks up on keys very quickly, and I hear all sorts of very memorable lines and solos throughout the album, such as the awesome solo on "I".

The vocals are better than ever. Doug has one of the best voices I've ever heard, and he is super humble about it. "Venus", however, sees him produce his most inventive vocal lines to date, no question. The others sound better than ever, too, including his wife, Jessica; but everyone in the band sings at some point, and the vocal harmonies are too strong to ignore, whether they be creepy deep vocals or even a little rap section on "Dream State of Mind", reminiscent of Pain of Salvation.

Sense of fun or not, the band is tackling a rather somber topic this time by discussing domestic abuse. It's pretty obvious from the lyrics, which sometimes incur righteous wrath in the listener. They are well written and rather blunt at times. The band, however, manages to make them playful at times, too. I'll never forget the line, "I'm feeling sticky, so be my glue." How could I?

When approaching "Venus", the listener might feel a little overwhelmed. With a run time of 80 minutes and all these genres making an appearance, it is natural to feel a little small. "Venus", however, is rather accessible and even catchy. The songs range from heavy, thundering prog metal to psychedelic and weird expressions. Two heavier songs near the beginning of the album, "Fantasy" and "High Kite Ride" are journeys in and of themselves, weaving in and around monstrous grooves. The latter is one of the best songs the band has ever made. "Expect the Unexpected", however, is exactly what its name implies: something different. It's a slower, trudging song with brilliant vocal lines, seductive lyrics, and a weird factor of 10. It honestly reminds me of a Bowie song.

That brings up my primary observation on "Venus". I do believe that what makes this album sound so different is the 80's inspiration that I hear throughout it. You'll mainly hear it in the keys and some of the melodies, but the album overall has this over the top, grandly energetic vibe that matches my assessment of the 80's. Tracks like the absolutely glorious "Dream State of Mind" or even the title track have this proggy structure combined with heavy-soft rhythms that break into excellent instrumentals with very synthy synth and killer hooks. Other songs like "Moonlight Bride" put jazz front and center, but remind me more of Gerry Rafferty than anything else. Yes, I think the 80's are strong with this album, and that is probably why I cannot get enough of it.

My favorite tracks here are definitely "High Kite Ride", "Expect the Unexpected", "Dream State of Mind", and "I". "Venus" is an album, though, that feels like you have so much more to explore. The title track, for instance, will probably be my favorite at some point, as it is so deep musically that I'm still kinda figuring it all out. The tracks that stick out to me initially are the ones with the sublime instrumental portions, especially "I". While this song starts off a little slower, it slowly builds and then releases into one of the best instrumentals I've heard this year; complete with gravy keys, climactic riffs, and a sweet groove.

"Venus", then, cannot be recommended highly enough. It is the complete package: an anomaly in the sometimes stale world of progressive metal. Hemina know how to mix things around a bit and how to transition breathlessly from hefty portions to quiet pastoral musings. This album is a journey that you can feel, and it might even exhaust you due to the wealth of content and ideas. If you can appreciate jazz juxtaposed against djent and 80's fervor next to pastoral flutes, this is the album for you. It's easily one of the best this year.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Here comes Hemina once again, who began life as a fully fledged prog metal group with "Synthetic" followed by "Nebulae", both masterful in their own rights. Following up on these, is yet another album with a one word title "Venus". It may be their best album to date.

The album cover is a work of art like other Hemina albums, this time depicting an isolated girl longing for freedom encased in some kind of abandoned room. The window beckons her freedom, as her golden hair waves in the breeze, but this girl is a victim of abuse at the hands of a trusted loved one. Her partner is over protective of her out of distrust so locks her away from the world or from the gaze of other men. Her past is one of turmoil and suffering but there are rays of light that signify her redemption is nearing. She is later shown free and happy in the booklet. Herein lies a clue to the content of the album. It is a concept album with very complex ideas that may only become apparent after studying the lyrics in the booklet. An online discussion with vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, founder of the group Douglas Skene certainly sheds some light on these ideas. Skene stated that the album is centred around trust and infidelity, and a certain sense of one cannot come back from this, and knowing when enough is enough in a relationship. When trust is betrayed, things rarely work, and furthermore a good person can be transformed by the negative experience into abusive behaviour brought on by the extreme stress of abuse. The album paints a picture of the cheater in a relationship later becoming the victim; a vicious cycle that occurs in abusive relationships.

This idea is encompassed in the opening track "Fantasy", where we are introduced to the protagonists in this love nest. The music is an urgent jagged guitar riff, that speeds along at a brisk pace. The guitar is accompanied by sweeping synth lines and the multilayered vocals enter soon harmonised with the endearing melody. The instrumental break is a duel between keys and axe, and both back each other up superbly.

The lovers get married at the end of the song, opening the doorway to the next phase in their relationship; the honeymoon in "Expect the Unexpected". The music transitions to a soft ballad, with deeper vocals and a reflective lyric. A sax solo by Jimmy Garden enhances the soundscape with a melancholy breezy air. There is beauty in the accompanying vocals of Jessica Martin, who is also wonderful on bass throughout this album.

"High Kite Ride" is a killer track with crunching metal riffs, and a broken time sig augmented by chaotic drums by Nathan McMahon. The lyrics speak of a bleak existence like "death alive" as the woman is now buried in her guilt, locked away, after a confrontation that turns her loving man into a psychopath. The track clocks over 9 minutes and has twists and turns signifying the turbulent relationship unfolding. The twin guitar break is mesmirising, Mitch Coull and Skene are masterful guitarists. The shunting rhythms break several times into some complex time signatures that start and stop, generating a disconcerting atmosphere. To top it off there are multiple lead guitar breaks that scream and howl, and even a raspy death vocal adding to the anger of the lyrics. This cut is one of the highlights of the album.

"Moonlight Bride" blusters along with more saxophone, almost a jazz metal feel, and then some high falsetto vocals that speak of the plight of the protagonists. The woman has become a sex object giving into her abuser. The track features some glorious lead breaks that soar beautifully and the romantic sax is always a welcome touch.

The 11 minute "Venus" follows opening with acoustic vibrations, and Skene's soft vocals singing of "shifting the blame to learn and to love". Metal guitar machine gun attacks penetrate the sound as the confusion of unrequited love sinks deeper in. Jessica offers some melancholy tones acting like a conversation between the lovers. One may be reminded of the powerful works of Ayreon. Later we are treated with the sweet tones of Sarah Henderson's flute, such a beautiful moment on the album; acting like the calm before the storm. Skene states that "Venus" depicts the fantasy of an ideal romantic world; a world that does not exist for these lovers. It is a strong, feminine world. The girl is damaged goods now and stares at the sky at Venus; the symbol of escape and innate beauty. The male is now the one who is cheated on, so the question is posed who exactly is the victim; a blurred line of infidelity and distrust. I have to state that "Venus" is one of my favourite tracks on the album due to its complexity and juxtaposition of furious metal guitar fighting against the calm piano and flute.

"The Collective Unconscious" has a chunky distorted guitar crunch as synth lines meander beneath. The lovers have dived into "a dream state of mind, locked in stasis together". Coull and Skene take turns to light up the dark sound with blistering guitar solos. The track is short at 3:30 but it makes its impact, and then gets out of there to make way for the next segment.

"Secrets Safe" has a catchy melodious guitar riff, and very strong vocals by Skene. There are sharp attacks of distortion that crackle with energy, and the synth pads are a constant companion. Lead guitar breaks sweep beautifully and build into heavier rhythms. The story has become more complicated; "Love's out the window, consider yourself a widow".

"Starbreeze" is a very airy diversion with a cool keyboard hook and cosmic soundscape. There are still metal nuances with bouncy chords, and this one has a more science fiction vibe. The lyrics are well written such as "Starry night O night so bright, behold our pixeled cosmic sight, past the solar wind lies a starbreeze, the cooling flame, the lion's gaze, the golden bars on heaven's gates, beyond the glow of Venus , a star is born." It is captivating stuff, and the track is only 3 and a half minutes, showing that less is more at times; certainly in this case.

"I" is over 10 minutes of prog excess and has some of the best vocals with an engaging choral synth providing a Gothic atmosphere. I adored the lead break that is so emotional with its elongated notes whammy barred to perfection, and soaring higher into squeals of anguish. When Jessica sings after this with some multilayered harmonies, it sent chills down my spine. The lead guitar is incredible on this track and then it swings into a new direction with blasts of speed picking twin guitars, and followed by an acoustic river of sound. Another highlight of the album is the result.

"Dream State of Mind" begins with chimes clanging as a haunting choral layer breathes. The lead guitar flourishes ebb and flow as Skene's vocals enter. An odd time sig is well executed with drum and bass fractured rhythms. There are some bizarre raps and manic laughter that have an unnerving edge. The protagonist has now lapsed into an hallucinatory state; punched home by a lyrical poem that may be influenced by the movie "Liquid Sky" that blurs the line between the fantasy and the real.

"Down Will Come Baby" ends the concept with a final statement that the protagonist is stuck in a limbo, the experience having spiralled them into a loss of sanity, a prison they will never escape. The music is frenetic but tinged with a sense that things are drawing to a conclusion. An upbeat melody is joined by blistering lead breaks and speed drumming. The track clocks some 12 minutes of a prog masterclass. Yet again the track delivers a powerhouse of instrumentation and terrific vocals. As icing on the cake there is a ghost track worth a listen and nice to ponder over called "You", in contrast to "I" it would seem. It's fast and bulges with the thundering hoofs of a metal stampede, that gallop along to conclude the sensory journey.

Overall the album is an 80 minute triumph of metal, jazz, retro synths, and prog time sigs wrapped around a deep, meaningful concept. On the first listen I was convinced the album was worthy of at least 4 stars, but on subsequent listens it just grew on me, finally entwining my subconscious with its complexity and glorious instrumentation. It is one of the discoveries of 2016 and worthy of 5 stars as there is not a dull moment and every track builds powerfully upon the next. The music is passionate and captivating in every sense, and the moments with sax, flute, trumpet and other instruments augments it to being far beyond your average metal album. The complexity of instrumentation is mirrored by the complex concept. In this sense, it delivers exactly what I look for in a prog album and that is a sheer delight to encounter.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Not unlike the sounds and quick-change tempos of AN ENDLESS SPORADIC, this is over-processed, artifice in which manual performance or virtuosity seems to be virtually eliminated by computer programming, sequencing and editing. Horrible treatment of sound, voice and music. The heavily treated, digitally truncated and manipulated sound here grates my nerves and ears like the music of KANSAS, RUSH or HAKEN. I'm tired of being duped by modern production technologies. I can't tell if these musicians are accomplished or not because their sound is so manipulated. Give me the real thing, please!

Best songs: the diverse and interesting, 5. "Venus" (11:12) (9/10); the djenty, melodic, 8. "Starbreeze" (3:24) (9/10), and; the Jem Godfrey/FROST*-like 11. "Down Will Come Baby" (12:10) (8/10).

A solid three star album; good but non-essential.

Latest members reviews

3 stars In my humble opinion, this album is too hard for prog rock. I am not the biggest fan of hard rock, but i believe it should also be based on some attractive themes if not melodies. Probably this topic is not the best target classification for this album and it is very likely that it deserves a 5 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1674261) | Posted by lizzard | Saturday, December 31, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If there is a female prog metal demographic, Hemina got it cornered. But this is no Nightwish. If a word comes to mind, it's oversaturation. Not in a negative sense - you come back from listening feeling like a kid who ate too much Halloween candy. After the relative streamlineness of Nebulae, t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1648609) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, November 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Theres something in the Aussies' water. I have to admit that I have been completely bored by prog metal in the last few years but somehow I seem to enjoy each of these Hemina albums more than the last. They are in great company with bands like Glass Ocean, Caligulas Horse, Voyager and sleepmakes ... (read more)

Report this review (#1647190) | Posted by ProgolateCookie | Sunday, November 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mind blowing album!I was captured by the first sound on Fantasy track...great guitar riff and awesome production, and after a while the majestic vocals are coming to fill the space with power and life.Yes it's djent-like,but not in the way of exhausting your ears by using multi rhythm equations upon ... (read more)

Report this review (#1644844) | Posted by Saralgam | Saturday, November 19, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another masterpiece from my favourite Sydney band. The band takes a bit from the scope of "Synthetic" and some of the song craft from "Nebulae" with some emotional crossover and djent fusion and builds this whopping huge chunk of melodic prog. Brilliant vocals with the whole band singing in harm ... (read more)

Report this review (#1641816) | Posted by ProgressiveMetaller | Saturday, November 12, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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