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Nemesea - Uprise

Nemesea - CD Review

 Nemesea – Uprise


CD Info
Napalm Records
10 Tracks (4 bonus tracks)
English Lyrics

Nemesea, the Dutch Gothic Rock/Alternative Band, from Groningen, in the Netherlands, is set to release their fourth full-length album titled Uprise. This latest release comes after a five year hiatus and the album is a mix of soft ballads and hard rock anthems. Plenty of energy is apparent both vocally and instrumentally. The vocals are strong, emotional when needed, and support a wide range of abilities. In addition, the band’s use of synthesized sounds continues with this album.

The band was formed in 2002 at a conservatory by the vocalist and guitarist. The original name was Nemesis, but that was quickly changed within a few weeks to the current name, Nemesea. While they originally were considered a Symphonic Gothic Metal Band, they have gradually shifted more to the Gothic Rock/Alternative Genre. Previously the band released Mana (2004), In Control (2007), and The Quiet Resistance (2011), as full length albums. No More was released both as a demo in 2006 and a single in 2009. In 2009, Nemesea also released the live album Pure: Live@P3.

As stated earlier, the band started as a project with vocalist Manda Ophuis and guitarist Henrik Jan de Jong. Bassist Sonny Onderwater rounds out the original trio that has been together from the beginning. Henrik and Sonny also cover keys and additional vocals are provided by Henrik. There have been a myriad of drummers since the beginning, starting with Chris Postma followed by Sander Zoe (ex-Delain), and Steven Bouma. Frank Van Der Star took over in 2011 and remains the drummer. A previous guitarist was Martijn Pronk (ex-Asbest, ex-Expulsion) and Berto Booijink along with Lasse Dellbrügge (ex-Orphanage) performed as keyboardists.

“Hear Me” is the opening song on this album. A heavy rock guitar sound starts the song before the vocals enter. A traditional rock beat on the drums accompany the other instruments and vocals. There is some harmony, both female and male, in the first two verses. After the second chorus, over a guitar and drum pulse, a chant is performed by Manda. This chant is punctuated by the band chorus saying “hey, hey,” and “you!” A solo guitar brings in the last verse and the song ends with the vocalist singing “understand.”

The next song, “Twilight,” opens with a descending guitar pattern and the drums playing a traditional rock beat. The vocals are much softer and expressive. At times the lyrics follow a slight syncopated rhythm and the voice becomes stronger during the chorus. The second verse follows the same pattern except that a light drum solo leads into the chorus. The song gradually gets stronger and there is a repeated pattern by a chorus before the last verse. Some vocal reverb and more synthesize sounds are included in this song. The band made a lyric video and here is the link.

There is one other song from the album that includes a video by the band and that is “Forever.” This song opens with keys (synthesizer) followed by the vocals. The band comes in as a chorus with “Forever,” and is joined by the drums. The drums provide an offbeat sound during the second verse. The heavy guitars then enter and the vocals become much stronger. The next verse has the same pattern and at the end Manda shows her strong voice over the instruments. The video for the song is at the following link.

Next is the song “Let It Burn,” which I would call a rock ballad. The vocals are softer at times and more emotional. The primary instruments are synthesizers, a true piano, and drums. The song builds to a crescendo instrumentally as well as vocally, before returning to the beginning sound. During the high points in the chorus, the guitars join in as well. This song features Manda’s vocal abilities.

A song that would be considered a Rock Anthem is “Time to Make It.” Keys open the song giving way to the drums and guitars. The vocals come in over a steady drum beat along with an ostinato on keys. In the chorus the vocals are stronger and so are the instruments. The guitar can be lightly heard in the second verse. Short, synthesized sounds fill in at different times. At the end, everyone is performing loudly dynamically, with the chorus joining Manda on the vocals.

“Can’t Believe It,” would be considered another rock anthem. The guitar opens with the vocals joining in. Drums and the bass provide a steady beat underneath. On the phrase, “Let it go,” a male voice adds harmony. The drums accent the off beats along with a chorus singing “ahs” for an interlude. This leads to a soft vocal part. When Manda enters, the drums punctuate the lyrics with three staccato beats. The song continues to build and the chorus returns and repeats the “ahs” over different drum patterns until the end while fading away.

Keys open the second ballad on the album, which is “Light Up the Sky.” A nice feature in this song is the vocal harmony between Manda and Henrik at different times in the song. The drums are played softly under the voices and keys. At times you hear the bass and guitar. An interlude is played by a piano before the vocals enter with an emotional touch. A chorus repeats “light it up,” before Manda ends the song with “the sky.”

“Get out” starts with a male singing, “Hold on and.” Manda enters and is joined with the male voice. Underneath them is a driving drum playing on the rim. Keys and guitar are playing an ostinato chord pattern. The chorus part of the song is done in unison with keys mimicking the voice at times. Each time it starts soft and builds. There is a soft key part halfway through the song, with Manda singing softly before returning to the opening sequence. The song ends with everyone in unison.

A nice touch to the song, “Bones,” is a filter at the opening that makes the song sound like it is performed on vinyl. This soon disappears as the keys, guitars, and drums enter. The vocals are breathy and soft. Then they become strong and individual differences in the instruments become prominent. The softness return for the second verse and the guitar provides a countermelody to the voice for a short time. Manda’s voice becomes stronger. Then a straight dotted drum beat is played under a chant by male chorus. The guitar sounds like a sitar giving a Mid-Eastern/Asian sound before giving way to a countermelody played by keys. The song continues with the strong vocals and instruments before abruptly ending.

My favorite song on the album is “Hold On,” which is a mixture of soft and hard rock. Musically, there is a lot of energy throughout. Also, this song features Manda’s ability to sustain notes vocally especially in the chorus where the instruments are letting loose musically. The guitar opens with a soft chords pattern along with soft emotional lyrics. Then we are blasted with heavy, staccato drums, strong vocals, and driving guitars, in the chorus, before returning to the beginning sound. In the second verse, there is some vocal harmony and the chorus returns. Manda sings close to the top of her vocal range. Near the end of the song, there is a synthesized, ethereal sound with her singing. Later, the band sings the verse while Manda is sustaining a long note. This song featured the band’s many musical abilities.

Overall, Uprise is a good album. There is a mixture of soft ballads and rock anthems. A good many of the rock songs have a hard edge to their sound. The band, with this album, show that they haven’t lost their unique blend of sound. The vocals are expressive and show a wide range. My only criticism of the album is that some of the songs follow a set pattern even though the lyrics are different. I would recommend this album obviously for fans of Nemesea and for those who would like to add to their rock or alternative library. For additional information on the band, please check out the following links:

www.youtube.com/user/Nemeseaband  (This contains video diaries that were created by the band. Official videos are found at the Napalm Records YouTube channel).