Review | Hemina – Romancing the Ether

Bird's Robe Records

From Sydney, Australia comes Hemina releasing their 5th album `Romancing the Ether’. A prog rock album with trippy rooted classic progressive structures, neo progressive elements and modern injections swirling into an orbiting album that will instantly appeal to fans of the widest sonic outbacks of the genre. Stating the album to be a mind-bending journey, the 35-minute title track is no less than an epic journey through time and space, at the conjunction of its lyrical content about life-meanings and belongings amongst family and relationships. 


Tying ether, the volatile colorless anaesthetic liquid, to the psyche and emotional state-of-being is the daring grip Hemina has on the concept, easily transferred onto their ravishingly beautiful music. The echoing psychedelic opening of the first movement ,,Intention” immediately raises stakes. An ethereal short blissful soundscape abruptly ended, though tying the elemental melodic components keenly together in the bodywork of the driven outburst of energy of 10+ minute running ,,Strike Four”. Douglas Skene and Mitch Coul’s guitars firing biting solos atop the scorching riff-chords with Nathan McMahon’s plopping loud drums and Jessica Martin’s low rolling bass adding metallic carved etching to the neo prog breaks.

When the dust settles Douglas takes the helm and welcomes us to a melodic journey with warming vocals. Sheer neo-prog with drying progressive metal injections makes the movements swirl into orbital state. It’s a psychedelic inbreath that throbs below the heavy turmoil of the songs and the vocal interaction of all members, making the fluently crafted movements vocally attractive. 


Amidst all the progressive marksmanship the nebula of wonder is constantly broken with brisk nesting hooks and intrinsic breaks and attractive guitar solos and melodic harmonies to make the songs land deep in the realms of your ambient state. ,,Embraced by Clouds” fuses all elements again without losing sight of the red-line woven into the concept musically and verbally. Think; new wave nesting Kitaro atmospheric structures tied to Howe and Squire’s most daunting neo symphonic progressive creations with Yes, shot up with doses of Dream Theater’s intrinsic breaks and heavy metal compulsion with administered shots of Opeth’s melodic heavy notes, melancholy and lyrical poetic subtlety.

The 2nd and 3rd movement balance all acts with wonderful interplay and even better vocal tradeoffs between (especially) Skene and McMahon. A middle eastern section breaks the fluent line of the first 20 minutes with ethereal instrumentation angelic vocals and modern synths. Increasing the synthetics of its synth, speed intensifies with the pulse pushed into hyper tensional state. On the heart-warming modern ,,Dissolution”, Hawkwind-psyche flies by with modern sound elements weld to the escalating short fixated trance-compulsion suddenly dying out to jagged guitars breathing fire with distorted keys calling out. Skene belts out in hearsay to a multi-layered glorious Hemina vocal section full of sky-splitting soul with gospel-like tendencies. 


With the guitars brought to the front and a growling low bassline imposing a gritty low, Hemina blends their all styles into their modern heavy prog metal potion to build for the staggering ending of the album starting with ,,Revelations”. Scatting vocals and wonderful melodies raise to the wonderful vocal interplay, casting comfort over the discomfort of the heavily syncopated music. It all builds to the glorious ending of `Romancing the Ether’ in ,,Integration” which, after that, meanders out in the oceanic depths of a person’s life as a summarization of one’s ties and 

Hemina’s fifth album is no less than an iconic statement of a band climbing the ladder of a multi-angled genre. Packing the elements of variety, Hemina managed to create a sonic journey that eludes conceptually while instantly nesting in the heart and soul. This is new wave heavy prog with lamenting beauty and heavy thrust firing on all engines. `Romancing the Ether’ is the spark that lights the sky!

Release date: 11 August 2023



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