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Hemina - Night Echoes CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.62 | 6 ratings

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4 stars "Hemina" is a progressive metal band from Australia formed in 2008 by Douglas Skene. As of August of 2009, the have released 4 full length albums and a few EPs. In August of 2019, their fourth album "Night Echoes" was released. Skene (vocals, guitar, keyboards) remains with the band from the first album along with Mitch Coull (guitar and vocals) and Jessica Martin (bass, vocals). Joining them is Natahn McMahon on drums, percussion and vocals). There are several guests supplying "gang vocals" and a few other guests including past member Phill Eltakchi doing vocals for one of the tracks. The album is a concept album involving a story of a young man dealing with the death of his father while trying to get through adolescence. There are 9 tracks and the album has a total run time of over 45 minutes.

"The Only Way" (5:27) paves the way for the album with the complex, heavy, and guitar laden sound that you expect from a progressive metal band, the tempo upbeat and a nice complexity that isn't overbearing. The use of the "gang" vocals is a good addition as it really adds to the story well. The vocals are very good and emotional, with a section where they come near to screaming, but don't quite reach that point. "What's the Catch?" (3:24) continues this same sound, but is less complex and more straightforward, but the upbeat, heavy sound continues, while "We Will" (4:04) brings back more complexity and also adds a nice layer of synths. The vocals continue to be emotional and some shouting is involved in the heavier sections of the track.

"One Short" (3:02) features the vocals of past member Phill Eltakchi on the only track he is featured on in this album. This track has a poppier feel to it, but the layers of vocals are nice and I find that gang chorus that appears in several of the tracks a nice addition that really helps the story move along and really ties the tracks together. "Flat" (5:39) begins by taking out all of the heavy noise and simply using soft acoustic guitar, atmospheric percussion (mostly cymbal rolls, etc.) and softer vocals. A two minutes, the ballad style continues, but the full band comes in with added heaviness of guitars. The vocals reach an emotional high before the instrumental break adds in a nice guitar solo, then more of the gang chorus comes in before the music pulls back again to the softer sound. "Everything Unsaid" (1:39) features a guest vocalist adding harmony to the regular vocalist with accompanying acoustic guitar. It's a nice intermediary track.

"Nostalgia" (5:57) brings back some complexity to the melody, but stays away from full bore heaviness with the guitars content to just add riff driven back ground to the lyric heavy track. When it does reach an instrumental break, things stay pretty safe as a short guitar solo soon brings back the vocals. "In Technicolour" (9:33) starts with a soft keyboard passage which is soon interrupted with some heavier guitars and some nice development eventually bringing in the vocals. Jessica's vocals are quite apparent in certain sections as her vocals stand out in the chorus sections on this track, and that along with the gang vocal section adds some more depth to the album. "Flicker" (6:07) brings back some of the energy in the vocals and a bit more heaviness, but still seems somewhat lightweight for a metal sound. Jessica's vocals also stand out on this track at certain points and the track is a bit more progressive, but it lacks that "umph factor" that you would hope for in a ending track, and it kind of leaves you hanging.

The album has a certain amount of depth that helps to retain one's interest through the album, and the vocals are also well done, and that keeps the album moving along. Whether this interest carries through after repeated listenings is the question. While the album is definitely well written and contains some great music, it isn't highly progressive, though there are some progressive traits to it, only time will tell if it can continue to hold interest over a year or two of repeated plays. Both Prog and Metal lovers might end up wishing for a little bit of both aspects, yet those aspects are there. As for this album, it probably leans more in the Heavy Prog or Crossover Prog genres. Still, the biggest question is whether it has the staying power for most people. For now, it seems to fall around 3.5 stars, but can be rounded up to 4 because of the great production and the depth brought on by the gang vocal sections.

TCat | 4/5 |


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