Music snobs beware: never judge a book by it’s cover.. and the same goes for music. I won’t beat around the bush, the artwork, the title, the bio and overall package just puts me off. It screams ‘this is not gonna be your thing Sean, don’t bother with it’. How wrong I was.
I ignored my inner music snob and pressed play to see what this band sounded like and it was a full 15 minutes before I could pick my jaw up off the seat to break an enormous smile and instantly start msg’ing mates about this absolutely unexpected gem of a record. Holy shit.
Opening track ‘Fantasy’ tells you everything you need to know about the band across 6 minutes of groove laden riffs and proggy metal. For comparison it’s like TesseracT and Soilwork and Dream Theatre all combined with a distinctly Aussie flair.
The vocals are exceptionally well executed showing off remarkable control and range. As much as I was frequently tempted to skip ahead on account of the higher notes and James LaBrie-ish (Dream Theater) singing, no sooner would another crushing section roll in and keep me engaged another minute longer. This continued for the entire track. It’s worth noting that across ‘Venus’ there’s both heavy vocals, beautiful female singing, and even some very low Pete Steele (RIP/Type-O-Negative) style vocals to mix it right up. Honestly I don’t think there’s much they haven’t tried, It’s really quite commendable.
Solo’s are huge and melodic, at times doubled or shared with the key’s for creative and ingenious effect. The drum trickery is strong, the momentum is consistent and for all its patience-testing length I just simply could not resist this fantastic music.
Track #2 ‘Expect The Unexpected’ should have seemed a fair warning and yet it was a complete curve ball. The programmed drums, solemn piano and softly sung lines sound perfectly at home and yet utterly contrasting to the established sound. It’s reminiscent of an oddball twist Twelve Foot Ninja or even the master mould Faith No More would pull. And what the hell is with that saxophone solo?
Anyway it’s all brought back to a ferocious and epic effort with ‘High Kite Ride’ which is easily one of the most intense and heavy tracks clocking in at a 9 minutes. The range and variety of attacks this piece carries is just astounding. Things get pretty heavy, there’s screaming, lengthy proggy-guitar solo’s and massive massive low end riffing to impress.
The mix is fantastic. Crisp drums, crystal clear tones on all guitars and keys, balanced and tastefully layered vocals make for a world class sounding album. The bass is a little less present that might I’d have preferred but when your focus is mainly on the other players it can be forgiven.
The album is quite long at times with some songs reaching upwards of 11 or 12 minutes which can push the patience threshold just a little.
‘Hemina’ are arguably at their strongest when all the elements that make this band so outstanding are captured across a shorter period like ‘Moonlight Bride’ and ‘The Collective Unconscious’. This will resonate strongly with fans of Melodic Metal, the modern Tech/Djent wave and even the glory days of yesteryears Progressive Rock.
Highly recommended. This was incredible.