Searching through Progarchives over my Labor Day weekend, I stumbled across this next band. Earlier that weekend, I decided to learn some heavier music on guitar, which made me interested in finding some new harder songs to listen to. In comes Hemina, a band suggested numerous times on Progarchives.
Hemina is a band from Sydney, Australia, consisting of Douglas Skene on vocals/guitars, Jessica Martin on bass/vocals, Mitch Coull on guitars/vocals, Phil Eltakchi on keyboard/vocals, and Edwin Saute on drums. Ranging from progressive metal, to djent, to space rock, their sound jumps from genre to genre throughout the album. Having released their newest album “Nebulae” a couple weeks ago, I am lucky to have stumbled onto this band at the right time.
Unlike most progressive metal albums, Hemina does not overkill their progressiveness. There are guitar and keyboard solos, but there are no ten minute overtures. The drumming is pleasant and deep, but there are no massive time signature changes that disrupt the flow of the song. There is no dominant instrument in the band, but each member performs passionately and with purpose. I enjoyed the camaraderie felt in the making of this album, where the listener can easily picture each band member playing off each other, and queuing each other up for the next section. Instead of five individual performers working separately, Hemina is a team working perfectly in harmony.
As their previous album “Synthetic,” this album follows a concept or story. Having only recently found this band, I haven’t had the time to delve deep into the lyrics. From what I have heard, I can shortly summarize the concept to be the transition one experiences from feeling meaninglessness to joy, all packaged into a sci-fi like atmosphere. Luckily, the title of each song reflect the general feeling of each song (For example, “Lust” is about lust, “Hope” is about hope, etc.). At first listen, I was unaware of the concept, and only focused on the instrumentation. Having listened to this album multiple times now, I must say that I fully enjoyed the lyrics and concept as much as the instrumentation on this album. Laced with sci-fi themes of outer space and other-worldly interaction, the geek in me was easily pleased.
Reminiscent of the bands Kamelot, Voyager, and Riverside, the guitar work contains many deep and heavy riffs, alongside some proggy solos and even cleaner guitar. Skene and Coull split time on lead guitar, each with time to show off their solo abilities. I love the intensity in the songs “Nightlives” and “Strength.” The keyboards also shine in the songs “Soulmates” and “Freedom,” containing some of the grooviest keyboard solos I’ve heard in a while. The instrumentation of this band is phenomenal. Hemina is able to produce some high quality moments in this album without going over the top in progressive debauchery.
My favorite thing about this album? The dual lead vocals of Skene and Martin, along with the backing vocals of Coull and Eltakchi. Most progressive bands I’ve heard having a hard time finding one viable singer, let alone four. Hemina perfectly utilizes this strength, using their versatile range and sound with a revolving door of vocals. Each member adds their own flavor to each song vocally, leaving the listener with a much different experience than expected. I love to listen to the change in vocals throughout this album, which is a rare fondness in the progressive metal genre on the whole.
Overall, “Nebulae” is an interesting and fun listen. The combination of guitars, keyboards, and drums styles, along with the plethora of vocals makes this album unique in an ever-expanding, yet ever-replicating genre. For fans of metal, djent, and progressive rock/metal, along with fans of the bands Kamelot, Haken, Caligula’s Horse, and Ayreon, I highly recommend “Nebulae” by Hemina! Please check out their Bandcamp page, containing this newly released album that is not available on iTunes.