HEMINA

Progressive Metal • Australia
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Hemina is a Progressive Rock/Metal band formed in 2008 by Douglas Skene. The band's goal was to write an interesting take on Progressive Metal combining the sonic extremities and musical virtuosity of the genre whilst preserving the artistic edge, forward-thinking philosophy and dynamic subtleties found in Progressive Rock.

In July of 2010, Hemina released an EP entitled 'As We Know It' featuring 3 tracks from their upcoming album 'Synthetic'. The band played 15+ shows within Australia which has gained them a substantial following within their year on the live scene.

This 79 minute cinematic concept album is now here and ready to be released with impressionistic digipak art and the rich sound that Hemina have become known for since their inception. The album is to be released in October 2011 for launch shows with Voyager, Arcane and more.

With pristine sound mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse Studios (Redemption, Circus Maximus,
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HEMINA Discography

HEMINA albums / top albums

HEMINA Synthetic album cover 3.90 | 10 ratings
Synthetic
Progressive Metal 2012
HEMINA Nebulae album cover 4.60 | 3 ratings
Nebulae
Progressive Metal 2014
HEMINA Venus album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Venus
Progressive Metal 2016
HEMINA Night Echoes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Night Echoes
Progressive Metal 2019

HEMINA EPs & splits

HEMINA As We Know It album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
As We Know It
Progressive Metal 2010

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HEMINA Reviews

HEMINA Nebulae

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
Hemina, Australia’s answer to Dream Theater, have released their second album and it is a genuine delight. Hemina released an excellent album in 2012 “Synthetic” that really impressed me with its blend of metal and spacey musicianship. It is an album I would recommend to the prog metal fan who does not like to be constantly bombarded with speedy riffs, over produced complexity or death growls, and recommended for those who love haunting atmospheres, compelling lyrics, strong melodies and virtuoso arrangements. This followup album “Nebulae” is again a blend of crunching metal riffs juxtaposed with melodic keyboards and soul wrenching vocals. The vocals, as previous, are in the accomplished hands of Douglas Skene and his loved one Jessica Martin. Douglas is a busy guitarist, with involvement in a variety of other Prog related projects, and with Hemina he is able to shine with some fret melting lead breaks and killer riffs. His vocals always remind me of the type heard on Pain of Salvation albums, indeed the band are similar to the sound of Kamelot or Symphony X in places, and Jessica’s vocals may remind some of After Forever or Nightwish at times. It is a clear tone and easy on the ears, with easily recognizable lyrics. Jessica’s vocals enhance the sound, with beautiful resonance and haunting clarity. I believe an angelic voice can soothe the soul, and in the same way as is heard on many Ayreon albums, the addition of a female vocalist is always a welcome sound after a lot of male vocals. It balances out all the heaviness of aggressive guitar riffs and pounding drums. Jessica plays bass also and this strikes out effectively with some outstanding keyboards by Phill Eltakchi. The whole sound is fleshed out by Mitch Coull, also adept on acoustic and electric guitars, and plays some blindingly brilliant lead solos.

The lyrics are important in understanding the conceptual ideas behind the album. Each song is given a one word title and follows an emotional journey of searching in the darkness of despair and coming out of the night with a sense of hope and one final promise. On the way the protagonist has to battle the trials we all face but in the struggles there is strength leading to building up of character, and through strength of character comes hope. Then there is the literal meaning that has a science fiction element, but one can interpret this as they choose such is the ambiguity of the concept, and this is one of the drawcards of Hemina. Douglas Skene describes the concept as being centered around “lucid dreaming and the exploration of possible worlds dominated solely by particular human emotions and experiences in isolation. It's about the search for transcendence through love and the desire to be loved.”

The journey begins with ‘Before’, the lyrics hinting at the dreamscape concept; “I thought true love would make it easy if we played our parts, two souls hovering, floating, gliding for a counterpart”. The music builds gradually and then breaks into a lone keyboard seguing seamlessly into ‘Nightlives’. A multi tracked vocal is heard as a wild guitar phrase crunches along a forced percussion figure. The lyrics centre on the lucid dreaming; “In my waking world I can’t walk through these walls, or feed my hands to each other, oh, eye to eye with my watch face, to me its flickering, lucidly I forge my nebulae.” The latter lyric is sung with an aggressive growl, though the majority of vocals are clean and harmonised with multi tracked voices. Douglas Skene is in his element on this album, really powering out some excellent vocals. There are sudden bursts of sound in an ambient section that has a dramatic effect. A keyboard and lead guitar solo rounds off this indelible highlight, making this a great start to the album.

‘Freedom’ cranks along a genuine metal blast beat rhythm, with provocative lyrics; “set the masses free and destroy minority”. Some forced growls sounding like Devin Townsend are heard in places to great effect. I particularly love the jagged guitar rhythms. This one really grows on you after a few listens and the lead break is absolutely killer, reverbs, delays and huge string bends, merging into a frenetic keyboard solo. Coull’s lead guitar playing is a speed blur of frenetic picking and up sweeps. A final effect of a helicopter and air raid siren adds to the concept.

‘Lust’ surprises with a funkadelic groove reminiscent of late 70s Disco. Jessica has fun playfully plucking out a bassline that comes straight out of the Earth Wind and Fire Museum of funky bass hooks. The sound works as the song is about lust, and what can be more lustful than 70s porno funk grooves? A salacious hook locks in as chaotic percussion and bass warbles about. It’s nice to hear Jessica passionately duet with Douglas. The lyrics are compelling focussing on unrequited love; “I picked you out from across the room in this white light, so bright.” The soothing keyboards are counterbalanced by heavy passages of guitar, though the music is always allowed to breathe. The music is a testament to the innovative creative talents from the group that were only hinted at in the debut. The band go into full flight on this track and plunge deep into the steamy waters of quirky pop and dance at times, strange bedfellows I agree but Hemina make it work somehow.

‘Soulmates’ is a calming atmospheric track reverberating with acoustic vibrations. There is a romantic sense of mystery in the lyrics; “walking together, growing strong, amidst this void we found our call”. The song floats on an air of keyboards and acoustics as vocals caress the spaces between, with some of Douglas Skene’s best work and Jessica answers with emotive angst. The singing is exceptional on this album, and I particularly love how Jessica and Douglas are able to balance each other’s styles on soulful, melancholy songs such as ‘Soulmates’; it is truly beautiful. The twin lead break is also awesome with howling string bends and fast fingering echoing the turgid romance in the lyrics.

‘Strength’ follows, with staccato meat cleaver chops of metal chunks blasting over manic synths. This is a heavy song after the previous melancholia. In the lead break there is a fractured rhythm and some blazing riffs with duel guitar playing. The keys chime in with sweeping washes of string pads as the pacey rhythm gallops along in contrast. After more singing a stunning lead break takes the song out, with a flurry of speed trills and lightning fingering. The lyrics are mysterious and draw one in; “I head to unseen waters toward a light that is lovingly familiar, a figure glimmers in the distant sunset, the me I’d dreamed of with a little more strength.”

‘Loss’ keeps a steady rhythm with metal distortion and a strong melody. The lyrics are intriguing; “I want to thank you for sparing me the years or empty hope, strung along for what seemed like a legacy”. The melody is difficult to capture but there is so much happening at such a frenetic pace that it does not matter. The guitars are complemented by huge cloudbursts of synth.

‘Hope’ jumps along an odd meter with forceful passionate vocals that are the dominant force here, with some enticing lyrics, "my world a sphere of ice and me its cold insides, stars warm my heart the distant nebulae.” An ambient opening warms up ‘Promise’; a song with an optimistic note. The metal blasts are prevalent soon as Jessica and Douglas sing “promise me you’ll try eternally, I need someone who will grow.” The shattered rhythms are jarring to the ear and there is an ascending melody, and a soothing outro.

‘Otherworldly’ takes things out with Hammond sounds and a raucous chorus; “through the wormhole and rise to another frame, frame of reference free of a world of blame.” The song takes some twists and turns with sudden departures in volume and pace, quiet reflective moments concluding the conflict in the concept; “reach down inside and realise what you’ve lost, it’s simple to find if you’ve even got a heart.” A choppy riff is heard over a fast keyboard phrase. Some very powerful vocals follow, and it breaks into a classical piano passage, then the grinding metal riffs return, fracturing time signatures, and a final spoken narrative section over ethereal keyboards. The sheer force of musical virtuosity is astonishing on this album.

A new project “Venus” is still in the pipeline and hopefully will see the light of day in the near future, but till then “Nebulae” will continue to excite listeners with accomplished musicianship and mesmirising themes. There are throughout adventurous basslines and sporadic blitzing drums. The dynamic lead guitar breaks and keyboard flourishes are incredible. Hemina inject odd time sigs and intricate layers of instruments to create some remarkable musical compositions. Overall ”Nebulae” is yet another solid release from Hemina that delivers outstanding prog metal on a plate served up with a slice of funk, diced up with distorted guitar riffs and a nice garnish of spacey atmospheres wrapped around a concept of lucid dreaming and the exploration of emotions.

HEMINA Nebulae

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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Time Signature
Otherworldly...

Genre: progressive metal

Following up on their impressive debut full-length "Synthetic" from 2011, the Australian band Hemina are about to release their sophomore full-length effort "Nebulae". Like the debut, "Nebulae" is a concept album and thus has 'prog' written all over it.

"Synthetic" was already a good album, but "Nebulae" tops it. Hemina continue to explore the dark version of progressive metal that they introduced on "Synthetic" and take it in new directions. The psychedelic feel in the form of spacey synths is retained, and the band still showcase their musicianship and songwriting skills without becoming unnecessarily technical. Thus, they keep the balance between atmosphere that characterized the predecessor, but they explore new means of expression. Thus, there are almost djent-like riffs to be heard in 'Lust' and there is a much more epic feel to this album in its entirety. One thing that I really appreciate is that the Australians seem to focus a bit more on the power of the riff on this album, thus delivering several riffs that both rock hard and tickle your intellect.

I praised "Synthetic" for its unpolished production. "Nebulae" is very polished production-wise, but I have to admit that, with the kind of music that Hemina offer up, I prefer the polished production on this album at the end of the day. It simply suits the sophisticated and multifaceted (and multi-layered) compositions much better. As for the musicianship, well, it is still impeccable, and listeners are definitely bound to be impressed.

Fans of progressive metal with a slightly psychedelic edge who prefer atmosphere and expression to technical wankery should definitely check this fine progressive metal album out.

HEMINA Synthetic

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Synthetic' - Hemina (8/10)

Hemina are part of what I might call the 'progressive metal revival'. Sure, the genre has enjoyed a steady supply of new albums each year, but it's only been relatively lately where I've noticed some of the younger bands stepping up to the plate and coming out with some really excellent music. Among others, Haken from the UK, Circus Maximus from Norway, and Distorted Harmony from Israel come to mind. Along with Caligula's Horse, Hemina is the Australian continent's contribution to this trend, and while it may not be a complete toppling of what has come before in progressive metal, there is no mistaking this style's rejuvenated modernity. "Synthetic" suffers from a few of the setbacks that generally come with an ambitious band first spreading their wings on a full length, but listeners can expect to hear some remarkable progressive metal from Hemina, now and in the coming years.

Hemina was first noticed by the progressive metal community with their self-released EP, "For All We Know". It wasn't long before they started making waves and sowed anticipation among listeners. Fans of that debut will recognize a few songs on "Synthetic"; "For All Wrong Reasons", "With What I See", and "And Now to Find a Friend" have each been given a new layer of shine for this full length. Despite a relatively short two year gap, Hemina have really widened the scope of their sound. Although their somewhat-trademark blend of Dream Theater-style prog metal and emotionally driven power metal is here, Hemina throw in electronic ambiance and even some jazz into what they do on "Synthetic".

Sure, I'd imagine most veteran prog metallers would be rolling their eyes around the time Dream Theater is mentioned as an influence, but Hemina come across as a relatively fresh-sounding act. Like many of their contemporaries in this prog metal 'renaissance', Hemina make their mark by incorporating powerful melodies, not in the traditionally bland 'arena rock' sort of way, but rather in the same sense that a classical composer would paint a hook into his craft. Vocalist Douglas Skene's voice fits the sound perfectly; I'd compare him (favourably) to Roy Kahn's quasi-operatic tenor in Kamelot. With the exception of drummer Andrew Craig (who is presumably too busy backing up the band with his intricate rhythms), every member of the band offers vocals in some capacity. Sadly, the prospect of a heavy metal barbershop quartet is wasted, but the warm voicework in Hemina gives "Synthetic" a warmth that helps bridge that gap between the logical and emotional sides of appreciation that progressive metal infamously so often foregoes.

"Synthetic" has some great songs on it- "And Now to Find a Friend" sounded great on the EP, and it sounds even better here- a prog metal powerhouse with plenty of twists and emotion to it. "For All Wrong Reasons" is a nice melodic reprieve from the otherwise prog- heavy bombast. However, while "Synthetic" is generally consistent and lacks anything I'd call 'filler', the near-eighty minute length feels like it could have used some cutting down. For all of its melodic sensibility, Hemina are a fairly cerebral experience, and taking in so much in one sitting can serve to take away from the enjoyment. Although Hemina have sharpened up their studio craft since "For All We Know", the production here still sounds a little dull; the atmospheric keyboards sound somewhat hollow in parts, and the guitars don't always sound like they're given the proper air to breathe. Luckily, Hemina focus largely on their greatest strength- the vocal aspect. "Synthetic" is a powerful mix of technical riffs and beautiful melodies, and it's no surprise that these guys have been receiving such good press in the prog world lately. At this point, Hemina feel like a band with much to offer, perhaps too much for their own good so early in the game. With this debut, they have delivered enough to get me excited, yet left enough room for improvement to make whatever second album that may come an even greater feat. I'm looking forward to it!

HEMINA Synthetic

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
On their debut album Hemina offer a novel variety of progressive metal which provides the band with a unique sound. It draws on both symphonic prog-inspired and space rock-influenced varieties of progressive metal, but it's more sonically aggressive than Dream Theater or Fates Warning and more theatrical than post-In Absentia Porcupine Tree. Carving out their own little niche, Hemina take us through a wild and varied ride which crucially shows them to be masters of atmosphere and emotional resonance as well as technical chops, which leaves saves them from falling into the trap of producing overproduced and emotionally sterile material which is always a danger in the prog metal field and which they tend to teeter on the brink of a little too often. I wouldn't call it the instant classic others have proclaimed it as, but it's certainly a high-quality debut which has made me excited about prog metal again - and in particular, excited to see what Hemina do next.

HEMINA Synthetic

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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J-Man
Hailing from Australia is Hemina, a five-piece progressive metal act that strikes an impressive balance between classic prog metal, heavy modern influences, and dynamic touches reminiscent of the best progressive music from the seventies'. The band gained some attention for their 2010 EP, As We Know It, but their 2012 full-length, Synthetic, has actually received quite a bit of hype and recognition from the progressive rock and metal communities. And with good reason, I might add. Clocking in at roughly 80 minutes, this ambitious concept album is jam-packed with absolutely killer and surprisingly unique prog metal; Synthetic is the sort of album that fans of the genre will not want to pass up on. This is just a damn good album across the board, and I have a feeling that we'll be hearing a lot more from Hemina in the future.

The majority of the music that's played on Synthetic is what I tend to look for in modern progressive metal - dynamic songwriting, stunning instrumentals, memorable choruses, and killer riffs. Hemina provides the listener with all of these things, but they do so in a way that is entirely their own. Rather than borrowing all of these tricks from established veterans like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Ayreon, Hemina puts these key traits in a more unique setting that sets them apart from other progressive metal acts. The end result is an album that sounds familiar and accessible to any prog metal veteran, but still contains enough original twists to keep it from feeling like a re-hash of something already done twenty years ago. Hemina leans towards the more theatrical and dynamic style of progressive metal played by acts like Pain of Salvation, Ayreon, Vanden Plas, and Evergrey, but you should also expect plenty of Dream Theater-influenced virtuosity, spacey sections reminiscent of Pink Floyd, melodic prog metal in the vein of Anubis Gate, and even some influences from modern thrash and power metal. Synthetic is not the kind of album that will sound polarizing to any progressive metal listener, but it packs enough variety to feel fresh and unique.

Of course, none of this would mean anything if Hemina didn't also impress from a compositional standpoint, but the band also excels on this front. For an album that's nearly eighty minutes long, it's a bit surprising that Synthetic is entirely void of any filler tracks. The ten-plus minute epic tracks like "To Conceive A Plan", "And Now To Find a Friend", and "Divine" may steal the show for some listeners, but many of the shorter songs are also masterpieces in their own right. Songs like "With What I See" or "Hunting Is For Women" especially strike me as an exceptional prog metal pieces that veer on the shorter side. In terms of musicianship, Hemina also delivers much more than expected; the band is exceptionally talented across the board, and some of the guitar solos (especially the one in "Divine") are just jaw-dropping. I could see Douglas Skene's vocals being an acquired taste for some, but I personally love his singing style. He sounds a bit like Ray Alder (of Fates Warning and Redemption fame) to these ears, which is definitely not a bad thing in my opinion.

The only minor complaint I have with the album is that the production is less than ideal - the mix feels a bit compressed, and (pardon the pun) the drums also have a 'synthetic' sound to them. A slightly less overdone production style would have impressed me, but this is the sort of flaw that's really easy to overlook in favor of excellent music. Synthetic is a virtually faultless debut album from Hemina; certainly not the kind of album that's easy to follow up. I'll be eagerly awaiting the band's next move, and in the meantime, I'll recommend this stunning debut to anybody who enjoy bands like Pain of Salvation, Ayreon, Redemption, Anubis Gate, Evergrey, Vanden Plas, and Dream Theater. Synthetic is undoubtedly one of the best debut efforts to come out within the last few years.

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