HAND
Progressive Metal • United Kingdom

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hAND is an English progressive gothic / alternative metal band from Horsham and Burgess Hill in Sussex, formed in 2004.

Founded by Kat Ward and Kieren Johnstone in 2004, hAND originated as a rock/metal/electronica duo. Releasing their first EP "Chapters" under this guise the band looked to evolve and grow for the second. Early in 2006 local drummer Cris Nelson joined the band and the music took on a heavier more progressive edge. "Shadow: Word Pain" showed off the new sound, with great reviews and a new sponsorship with Mapex drums the band soon landed their first record deal with Copro Records in 2007.

Recording at Philia Studios with producer Nick Hemingway (Isor, Cancer, Desecration) the debut album "Deadroom Journal" was a turning point for the band. Receiving high praise from UK and international press, this saw them playing gigs all over the country supporting acts such as 3rd Room (Italy),
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HAND Discography

HAND albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Deadroom Journal
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 3 ratings
Breathing
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kintsugi
Progressive Metal 2014

HAND EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Chapters
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shadow: Word Pain
Progressive Metal 2007

HAND live albums

HAND demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Handy Sampler
Progressive Metal 2013

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HAND Reviews

HAND Breathing

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Andyman1125
Supersonic

Hand (curiously typed hAND officially) is a relatively new band originating in Sussex, England. Originally formed as an electronic duo, the band eventually evolved into a creative and exciting blend of alternative rock, gothic metal, and doom metal with a distinct progressive overtone. The music, with the Gothic twinge lead by the singer/bassist Kat Ward, gives an exciting new dynamic to an oftentimes rather dull genre as the band's latest album, Breathless, amply displays. The melancholic tracks on the album burst with passion and drive, pushing the album to new heights of sonic enjoyment. This fantastic new release will keep most listeners tuned into the music, and I highly recommend it.

The most obvious feature of this album that stands out to me is the presence of female vocals - not a common sight in most metal, and almost unheard of in the progressive metal scene. Although many bands who utilize female vocals don't really click with me, as oftentimes they cannot match the power of the music or do not fit the feel of the composition, hAND wonderfully fuses the style of Ward's vocals with the feeling of the music, making for a very pleasant and engaging dynamic to the already impressive music. The vocal sections are mellow and laid back, which matches her vocals perfectly, and the instrumental side of the music rises up to meet the challenge with often times more complex and upbeat songwriting.

The instrumental side of the album, as I said, completes the album in the way a yin and yang is a complete circle. The vocal side is mellow and laid back, with a few exceptions, while the instrumental is heavier with more intense and "metal" roots, making the album a wonderfully dynamic composition. The music is simple and subtle, powerful yet reserved, and melancholic and uplifting. It isn't overly virtuosic, yet has enough skill and passion in it to give it punch and power. Each of the three members contributes a quintessential part to the music, which makes the music seem full and complete, which is often difficult to manage with only three instruments contributing to the music.

In the end, the music presents itself as a manifestation of the band's maturity; the song writing is complex enough as to be progressive and enjoyable yet not overcomplex, the production of the album is clean as so the album has great production yet is not slick and unlistenable, and the lyrics are enjoyable and deep enough as not to seem ambiguous. The nine tracks display an incredible amount of diversity with countless influences and atmospheres meshing as one coherent piece of music. The band has certainly done a wonderful job with this album. 4 stars.

HAND Breathing

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
With their second full-length outing, British trio hAND sets out to create an album different from your average female-fronted metal effort. Rather than opting for the standard symphonic/gothic sound where the instruments are only used to showcase the vocalist's talents, hAND instead makes a very band-oriented effort with Breathing. Kat Ward's angelic vocals, backed by strong musicianship across the board, immediately set hAND apart from your average female-fronted metal group, and their atmospheric prog metal style further distances them from the herds of "Epicas" floating around in the heavy metal world. Despite Breathing's tendency to sound a bit too conventional at times, this is a very promising effort from a band with plenty to offer.

I'd describe the music on Breathing as a cross between progressive metal, doom metal, and gothic metal. The vocals throughout the full duration and dark piano parts on "Flee" hint towards goth metal, while technical guitar passages and time signature shifts, as well as quite a few doomy riffs, set hAND apart from most gothic metal outfits. The band's unique approach to progressive metal is ultimately their strongest asset, although the musicianship is also excellent across the board. Kieren Johnstone's excellent guitar work immediately proves that hAND are much more than simply a vehicle to drive vocal melodies, and Cris Nelson's expressive drumming is also noteworthy. Kat Ward's vocals, though possibly a bit too tame for my tastes, are also excellent and it's clear that she has a great set of pipes. Her bass playing takes a bit more of a backseat on Breathing and it's generally fairly simplistic, but the music generally doesn't demand super-technical bass playing in the first place.

In terms of songwriting, hAND could still use a bit of improvement. It's apparent that the band does know how to write solid riffs - there are quite a few of those on Breathing - but the vocal melodies are often a bit monotonous and lack enough memorability to truly make this a wonderful experience. Variation within the arrangements is also kept to a minimum, and can get a bit dull towards the end of the album's playing time. It's a bit of a shame - the compositions themselves are varied and unique from one another, but the dull production and lack of instrumental variation really give the album an added edge of monotony.

Even though the melodies and arrangements could use a bit of work, Breathing's pros certainly outweigh its cons and it currently stands as a unique changeup in the prog metal world. hAND are a promising act and, with some work in the aforementioned areas, their next outing could really be something special. People looking for something different than your average female-fronted metal act should still find plenty of enjoyment from Breathing - I know I did. 3 stars are deserved for this solid and promising effort.

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