Hemina - As We Know It
Self Release
Progressive Metal
5 songs (24:30)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Crash
Surprise of the month

Nothing makes me happier than good prog. I must emphasize the “good” in “good prog”. The reason behind this is that most of it is balls. Most bands play to the technical side of the genre instead of using the endless possibilities in song writing and sound. Progressive Metal bands also have a tendency to forgot the “metal” tag and play with little more aggression than a puppy with a chew toy. The undisputed kings of prog, Dream Theater have been the most successful at pulling off the progressive metal shtick and it is evident in their sound as well as their success. If only more bands would fuse the songwriting with the musicianship then we would be in a better world. Hemina happens to have a good head start.

Hemina is a progressive metal band from Australia. They mix the old conventions of prog such as expanding themes and longer songs with a certain flare of pop that many older prog bands such as Genesis and Yes would employ. With As We Know It, the band hopes to carve out a little space for themselves in this big world of music, hoping that their music will find ears that will listen. I have listened, many times. And while there is a lot of work to be done, I feel that this band could write some absolutely amazing material. The first of the three tracks is And Now to Find a Friend which spans ten minutes and is by far the most technical song on the EP. With an acoustic intro, keyboard leads, and erratic time signatures it is quite an impressive piece of work. While it is not the most successful track on the record (in fact, it might be the weakest) it still shows the varied thoughts and ideas running through each member’s head. There are a couple moments throughout this song that are near perfect. A spectacular moment just happens before the instrumental moment when lead singer Douglas Skene gives a sharp King Diamond like cry. These are moments that heavy metal are made of and it would be in the band’s best interest to utilize them more.

Unfortunately, while Skene’s vocals are pleasant and for the most part fit the music, I feel that he could use a lot of work. His voice tends to go into a near whine which while never unbearable, does not do the band any favors. He would benefit from a harsher delivery with more bite in his high notes. His chest voice on the other hand, is perfect on the second song For All Wrong Reasons in which he utilizes a lower range and builds up what first seems to be a ballad into a lush and beautiful song. Anyone who can recall Lifting Shadows Off a Dream by Dream Theater will know of the mood I speak of.

The third and final song is With What I See, an obvious single. Do not let this deter you away however, as this is the best song on the EP. A straight ahead metallic rocker, the musicianship doesn’t at first seem to expand on the sound of the first two songs, but the musicians really show their chops when it starts cooking. The guitar solos on this song are absolutely perfect. I’m serious. There isn’t a way that you could change them that would better serve the song. This shreddability should be used more. A LOT MORE.

That’s what the band needs, in essence. They just need more! This record makes me think of Dream Theater’s first album When Day and Dream Unite quite a bit. Because while it may be rough at the edges, there still is a lot of potential sitting in this material. Will Hemina lead the way to take us to the golden land of prog? Probably not. But they definitely pass for vikings.

Killing Songs :
With What I See
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