Earlier this year we were treated to the latest in a string of fine releases from the Perth based progressive metal group Voyager, now we travel to the other side of Australia where you find another winner of the progressive kind this time from the band Hemina. Though I didn't expect to hear anything less from Hemina after the strength of their striking first full length album Synthetic in 2012. Like Synthetic, Nebulae is also a concept release as "The album centres around lucid dreaming and the quest for transcendence". Nebulae should have a broader appeal as the songs are more instantly accessible, and despite there being slightly less in the way of extended tracks this time around Nebulae has more than ample quality material to unearth.
Besides Hemina's high level of musicianship the vocals both male and female are certainly an asset once again. Those responsible are guitarist and lead vocalist Douglas Skene (Anubis), Mitch Coull also with guitars and vocals, Jessica Martin handles bass guitar and vocals with Phill Eltakchi who has a strong presence on the keyboards and also contributes vocals. On the drums is Edwin Saute who filled the position for this new album and Edwin has done an admirable job. I really like that interaction of the bass and drums on a song like "Nightlives" adding to their powerful sound.
Following a track which begins calmly before becoming quite the dramatic number namely "Before" we find the vibrant progressive metal of "Nightlives", and coupled with that killer chorus this one has all the ingredients of a great song. Hemina's metal is pumping for "Freedom" with the gang chants being an effective addition, and the guitar and keyboard solos really hit the mark. With a partly funky feel and vocals to match "Lust" is very cool indeed while next track "Soulmates" is the album's enchanting ballad. Hemina groove it up modern progressive metal style for "Strength", and it's great to hear that Hemina isn't a group that likes their bass player to be kept away from the spotlight, and why wouldn't they with someone of Jessica's obvious talents. "Loss", "Hope" and "Promise" feature more powerful intricate music and Hemina's wonderful combined vocals, which leads us to "Otherwordly". The longest track on Nebulae and one with the lot, an ever changing epic which brings this striking new metal album to a close.
Hemina aren't another progressive cover band paying tribute to their favourite progressive acts, instead they following their own direction returning to do it again with Nebulae and then some. So if you enjoyed Synthetic or are a fan of progressive music then Nebulae will be an essential and rewarding purchase.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!