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Hemina - Night Echoes Award winner

Hemina
Night Echoes
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 July 2019, 7:56 AM

HEMINA is a four-piece Progressive Metal band based out of Sydney, Australia. Formed in 2008, they released their first album “Synthetic” in 2011, followed by “Nebulae” in 2014, and “Venus” in 2016, to much critical acclaim. They are back now with “Night Echoes,” set for release August 1, 2019. Singer Douglas Skene provided the production on the album as well. This newest album is a concept album, focusing on a young man trying to navigate adolescence, following the loss of his father to suicide.

“The Only Way” leads off the album, with a blast of fresh melody and lead guitar notes. Having an entire band who can sing certainly helps with the strength of the backing vocals…they are rich and full. A smoking guitar solo breaks up the choruses, which are full of character. The song retains a gritty edge however, contrasting nicely with the smooth melodies. Douglas has a very versatile voice, going for broke at the end. “What’s the Catch” is another that opens with a pulse of melody and beautiful clean vocals. Melodies take center stage in this song…they are catchy and fun. Another fantastic guitar solo bridges the chorus, following the melody line perfectly. The backing vocals are almost DEF LEPPARD quality.

“We Will” was the first single released off the album. It has a heavy and sometimes darker sound but still with those wondrous melodies. The chorus is drawn out and full of vivid colors that you can almost see in front of you, ending with harsh vocal notes. “One Short” opens with a groovy swing, with finger snapping and what sounds like a full set of backing vocals. It sounds like the band is having a lot of fun here with this song, and it reminds me of driving down a highway with the top down on a sunny day. “Flat” opens softly with clean guitar and hushed vocals. It talks about “my whole life in front of me,” but feeling so flat from the trauma of what happened to the subject’s father. It’s really a beautifully emotional song that I think anyone who has experienced trauma can relate to. The harsh vocals really capture the feeling here.

“Everything Unsaid” opens with sweet tones and memories of a picture. Here Douglas shares the vocals with Jessica and the duet is beautiful. I’ve always marveled at his voice and it is pure in its simplicity here. It’s just a quick two-minute transitional track. “Nostaligia” opens with some spacy keys and it’s another groovy, jovial, upbeat number. At times it turns dark, consistent with the subject of the concept album. “In Technicolour” opens with delicate notes and something building in the background. The main riff then slams in with some authority and high, melodic tones. The harmonized vocals in the chorus really strike hard, leaving a lasting impression. It has mostly happy tones and can give you a real charge if you need it.

“Flicker” closes the album, with a bit of a tougher edge, and vocals that rage from soft and sweet to full on emotional. Jessica picks up the vocals at one point, providing the female perspective. It has a dreamy sound overall, like you are half-awake in your slumber, wondering what is real vs. what is not. At one point Douglas really stretches out into the highest ranges you’ve ever heard. This song has some really soulful moments as well. It’s a side of the band I don’t believe I have heard before, or at least not to this degree.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the album. Though it lacks some of the diversity of their previous effort, “Venus,” it more than makes up for it in melodies. The melody has been dialed up a few notches, as well as the backing vocals. As well, they seem to have developed a penchant for shorter songs with more of a dynamic burst. In other words, the melody hits you harder and you don’t have to wait for it. Is this a funny way of saying that it’s more commercial? Perhaps, but that is not the point. I hope this album will give them their first real taste of appeal to a wider audience, because it is incredible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Douglas Skene is one of the best and most diverse vocalists out there.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

Purchase Link:

https://hemina.bandcamp.com/

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Only Way
2. What’s the Catch?
3. We Will
4. One Short
5. Flat
6. Everything Unsaid
7. Nostalgia
8. In Technicolour
9. Flicker
Lineup:
Douglas Skene – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Lead Vocals
Mitch Coull – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Vocals
Jessica Martin - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Nathan McMahon - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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