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Hemina - Venus Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 October 2016, 12:01 PM

HEMINA is a Progressive Metal band formed in 2008 in Sydney, Australia. To date they have released two full-length studio albums. Their second album “Nebulae” gained them some real attention in the genre, but they remain one of the best kept secrets, which I would like to see changed. The forthcoming “Venus” will be their third release, and contains twelve tracks. The opening track, “Fantasy” is aptly titled. As I listen, I feel like Aladdin on his magic carpet ride over the city, hurling through orange and purple skies to heights previously unseen. The feels are really at a zenith here, and contrast sharply with the heavy guitar rhythms that provide the base. Working tirelessly in the background are those wonderful keyboard melodies. “Expect The Unexpected” is a touching piece that uses pure, raw emotion to carry the message. The vocal harmonies just leave you with chills, and the saxophone is a really provocative addition to the song. “High Kite Ride” is nine minutes of pulsating, lively, and  winding Prog that surely shows seasoned songwriting and a sophistication that we hear with the big names of the genre like DREAM THEATER, HAKEN, and DGM. Simply brilliant!

In contrast is the soul-bearing harmonies of “Moonlight Bride.” At times you can get lost in the complexity of the challenging meter and key changes which makes you smile and shake your head in amazement. Seriously, these are the elements that make for outstanding Progressive Metal music. The guitar solo is absolutely spot on, not taking over the song but augmenting the melodies with elegance and class. The title track, “Venus,” is over eleven minutes. Refined and reserved at times, it tells both a delicate and hearty story that makes use of deep textural applications and more layers than a wedding cake. The softly sung title in an enchanting interlude near the half-way mark really pulls at your heart. What a truly epic composition. “The Collective Unconsciousness” is warmhearted and affectionate. The acoustic strings work so well with the vocal harmonies. At the bottom end that bossy riff rattles you with that substantiality and weight that you crave as a metalhead.

There some unexpected but welcomed angst in “Secret’s Safe,” with some harsh vocals and darkness that coats the glorious melodies, wrestling with each other along the way. It has a hasty quality in terms of arriving at a set point but that end point is always moving just a little faster. Like withholding food from a starving man, it makes you crave the sound that much more. The prominent bass lines in “Starbreeze” mesh well with the staccato guitar notes and vocals that are drawn out over top. It’s like being caught in a storm with a calming voice that whispers in your ear, guiding you to safety. “I” is another lengthy track, at close to eleven minutes. Mysterious in the opening, the tone on that guitar solo is superbly distorted. Rich and varied, there is a lot to love in this track. Sometimes fans can be intimidated by longer songs but even non-Prog fans will easily be able to connect with the sublime melodies presented here. There is literally an album’s worth of creativity in this track.

“Dream State of Mind” is another undeniable winner. Strap into your one-man shuttle and shoot into the recesses of the universe, passing billowing clouds of gasses and galaxies that emit so many colors you would swear they are off the visible spectrum of light. “Down Will Come Baby” is over twelve minutes and the longest on the album. Bright guitar chords and ethereal passages of beauty marry with a bulky rhythm at times, creating a song shrouded in heaviness but with all the glitter of any pop sensibility. It’s absolutely transcending. The song glides back and forth over waves of different structures and keys that keep coming but it never loses its footing. The bonus track “You” was a nice addition to the album. It’s a more straightforward melody and the animated melody is just so catchy to the ears.

Overall the best summary that I can give on this album is that HEMINA should be a household name when it comes to discussing the Progressive Metal giants in the genre today. However, don’t confuse them for a copy-cat of some of these bands because the diversity and creativity that have presented here is solely their own affair. I was already invested in the band after hearing their 2014 release “Nebulae,” but they have taken their talents to new heights on “Venus.” Every song is ceremoniously crafted and the attention to detail is superb. Yet, the songs have a life-force to them that is full of spirit, heart and soul, and the listening experience is just about as good as it gets. No fan of Progressive music should be without this album in their collection.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Fantasy
2. Expect The Unexpected
3. High Kite Ride
4. Moonlight Bride
5. Venus
6. The Collective Unconscious
7. Secret’s Safe
8. Starbreeze
9. I
10. Dream State Of Mind
11. Down Will Come Baby
12. You
Jessica Martin – Bass, Vocals
Douglas Skene – Guitars, Vocals
Mitch Couli – Guitars, Vocals
Nathan McMahon – Drums, Vocals
Record Label: Bird's Robes Records


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