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The Thinking Man

THINKING MAN's THURSDAY: HEMINA Take Us To Venus

Happy Thursday once again Prog Dogs (no one calls you that). For this entry into the Thinking Man's Thursday cannon I am continuing to make up for releases I missed in 2016 with the stellar third album, Venus, by Australia's Hemina.

Happy Thursday once again Prog Dogs (no one calls you that). For this entry into the Thinking Man's Thursday cannon I am continuing to make up for releases I missed in 2016 with the stellar third album, Venus, by Australia's Hemina.

Happy Thursday once again Prog Dogs (no one calls you that). For this entry into the Thinking Man's Thursday cannon I am continuing to make up for releases I missed in 2016 with the stellar third album, Venus, by Australia's Hemina.

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Hemina are a eclectic combination of progressive rock styles that range from TesseracT-like djent to Evergrey bombast. Other moments even bring bands like Coheed and Cambria, Kamelot, Meshuggah, Mercenary, and others to mind.

Throughout Venus the guitar-work is phenomenal. The twin guitar shredding of Douglas Skene and Mitch Coull is akin to a Steve Vai, a Polyphia, or a John Petrucci. The Dream Theater influence is actually pretty strong overall. "High Kite Ride" has an amazing guitar/keyboard duel that could have fallen right out of a Liquid Tension Experiment jam.

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While amazing musicians across the board, the band shines in the vocal performance. All four members front the band at one point or another. Typically lead vocals come from one of the two guitarists Skene and Coull. Those two occasionally do some harsh growls, but are mainly in the soaring Mercenary or Kamelot realm. Bassist Jessica Martin is frankly underutilized vocally on this album. She mainly does backing vocals, but when she comes to the forefront on a song like "I," it just makes me want to hear more of her. However, the band is at their most epic vocally when drummer Nathan McMahon joins in and they come together to form a four-part metal choir.

Hemina are not afraid to stray from the usual metal formula of guitar(s)/drums/bass/vocals/keys either. There are some awesome saxophone-lead sections on "Dream State of Mind," "Expect the Unexpected" and "Moonlight Bride." The band have me asking the question I ask all too often of, "why isn't there more sax in metal, god dammit?" The band even surprised me with a flute solo on "Venus." I felt like I've heard this before, but gosh darn it does it hit the spot.

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At this point, the band probably mostly comes off as a power prog outfit, and for the most part that is their deal. However, their heaviness really comes though in their rhythms. "Starbreeze" has a strong Leprous-vibe and I'm not mad about that at all. Often under really epic sections, the rhythms go real, real low and get real, real chunky.

For the most part songs are lengthy, but don't feel like a chore throughout the duration. As a good prog band should, Hemina's songs consist of a lot of juxtaposed parts that tell stories both lyrically and musically. There is a lot to digest with this album. Hell, the version I have exceeds the maximum capacity of a compact disc at about eight-four minutes. I'd say start with "I," with is a masterpiece and perfect example of everything this band can be, and then move on to "Venus" and "Starbreeze."

Get Venus now by Hemina at their Bandcamp

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