For those not familiar with the band, Nemesea is a Dutch alternative rock outfit, formed in September 2002 in Groningen, The Netherlands by vocalist Manda Ophuis and guitarist Hendrik Jan de Jong.
A beautiful and haunting release, Nemesea‘s latest album shows a more pop-orientated direction than their previous collections, which were largely symphonic metal. The songs shimmer into view and catch your subconscious with their beauty and fantastic craft. The melodies swim from the honey-like vocals of Ophuis whilst the soundscapes created by the band weave mysterious patterns behind her. It is a collection that demands attention, but the pay off is when the songs tap into your soul and you find the ghostly visions grabbing at you during random moments of the day.
Songs such as “Hold On” build momentum and explode into life from the quietest of entries; like the shy sober guy who transforms, after a couple of pints, into a dancing demon menace.
Other songs catch immediately and don’t let go. “Hear Me” starts the ball rolling, with its insistent muscle and the album grows after this. All the way through it, you know it is a European record, as the pop sensibilities of bands like A-Ha resonate. There is also an evocative feeling of the band Evanescence in the grooves.
Parts of the record sound like a stab at being a rock opera (not surprisingly, due to Nemesea‘s past symphonic efforts). This shows especially on the track “Broken“. That is no bad thing, but I tend to judge by Meat Loaf at his prime and so anything less always is somewhat of a disappointment.
The whole album is a grower, but may not appeal to those who seek out harder pastures. The production is slick, the sound pulsing with thoughtful energy and the lyrics oblique and dense. I suppose the one criticism could be that it is not easy to determine what the band are singing about, but it still sounds good!
Approach with an open mind and you too may find these songs reward at the end of your sonic rainbow.