Review Summary: Forget about the gothic rock designation attached to this band. In Control is nothing less than emotional and catchy electronica-based pop with a slight metal edge.
Apparently, Nemesea started out on their debut album sounding like an Epica clone, but I can’t confirm that because I’ve never heard it. What I can confirm is that on their sophomore album, In Control, they share more in common with an Electronica band like Collide or a Pop artist such as Kelly Clarkson then any of those Gothic Rock bands out there. The music is dominated by synths and upbeat, almost danceable rhythms driven along by the capable vocals of Manda and an abundance of very catchy choruses. There are still guitars on this album, but their sound and the riffs they play have very little in common with Metal. Their sound is more reminiscent of an Industrial band in the way that they have a razor-sharp, slightly processed sound to them, and the riffs themselves are the rhythmic power chords associated with that genre as well (except much less aggressive here).
The album starts with “No More” which is the heaviest song on the album and easily shows that they are no longer following behind bands like Epica. It starts with pulsating synth, Techno-ish keyboards, and Manda’s beautiful vocals. When the song really starts up, the guitars come in to compliment all the synth and keys, but they only occasionally dominate the song with any sort of heaviness. The chorus is catchy and easily memorable, and the beat is quick and energetic. The second track, “In Control” is more representative of the album as a whole. It is very upbeat with rhythmic, yet unobtrusive riffs, a lot of pulsating synth, and a very catchy chorus. Another song that follows that same basic formula is the track “Lost Inside” which as of right now is available for free download from their website.
Another song worth noting is the single ballad on the album, “The Way I Feel” which features guest vocals from Cubworld. If you’re unfamiliar with Cubworld, don’t expect any Death Metal vocals or anything, because this guy’s style is similar to Jack Johnson or Dave Mathews. The song starts with just piano and the two vocalists, and it is simply beautiful. Their vocals compliment each other so well, and they both elicit so much emotion from the song that they’re able to bring it to the next level all by their selves. By the end, the rest of the band does come in but it’s only in a limited role to provide a crescendo to the song when both vocalists let the complete power in their voices free.
For those that may be familiar with this band’s debut album or with Gothic Rock in general, there are still enough lingering influences from their past to keep your attention including some solid guitar melodies from time to time, most notably at the end of the song “Believe”. The song with the largest nod to their past is “Like the Air”, which if not for the pulsating synth line that moves in and out of the guitar riff, could be considered Gothic Rock. The chorus on this song has some of the strongest, most soaring vocals from Manda, and the melody behind it is more Folk influenced then Pop influenced.
Nemesea is hard band to pin down because I think they could appeal to those who love female fronted metal as easily as they could appeal to someone into the Pop sounds of Kelly Clarkson. On the other hand, that dual appeal could cause fans of either genre to despise the other elements contained within each song. For me, this is a solid album full of Poppy Electronica songs with enough of a Metal influence to give it an edge and set it apart from the stereotypes that bands of either genre usually fall into.
Originally I had an entire opening paragraph talking about how I don't like most female fronted bands, and the reasons why, but it had nothing to do with the review so I dropped it... but it would have shown that I think there's something special and different about this band, so maybe you will too.
Yeah, I've been thinking about reviewing it, but I like to let albums sink in before writing about them to make sure they don't get old or boring.
iTunes recommended this band to me about a month ago and I listened to some of it, a few tracks were good but a lot sounded like bland, generic filler, so I'm unsure about this 4/5 rating, maybe I'll give it another go
Honestly, I've been flip-flopping between a 3.5 and a 4 ever since I got this CD. If you consider Electronic Pop songs with a Metal edge filler, then it probably is... if you can just enjoy some catchy music then the rating probably stands.
I listened to it again, and the first thing I noticed was that Manda sounds almost exactly like Liv Kristine, which is a good thing. Maybe it's a bit better than I remember it being; No More, Lost Inside (despite the bridge), and Remember are all noticably good songs, and I would much rather hear this on the radio than Evanescence. Still, I don't love it, but good review.
Given it a full first listen, and my impressions are good. The album hooked me in with it's first few songs, and it reminded me a bit of Beseech's album 'Souls Highway' and also a bit of The Birthday Massacre's album 'Violet'. But about halfway through it kinda fell into that trap that so many other similar bands do (flowing tears, the dreamside etc) and some of the songs started sounding the same. They needed to mix it up a bit more IMO.
I think it is something you'd enjoy, balls. I don't know if you would enjoy it, Ashtray, because I'm still not really familiar with what you like. If either of you check it out let me know what you think.
... and Balls, contact the iTunes music store. They say that they won't let you re-download your stuff, but every one of my friends that has lost their music has asked anyway and have been aloud a one time deal to get their music back (three people I know have been able to)This Message Edited On 11.29.07
What I heard off this bands myspace was pretty cool, going to give this another listen.
Thing is, all the songs I put on there were pretty much on cds that i bought or real cds that were burned except for Mechina and Anacrusis. I Tunes had some trouble loading up or whatever and lost them, thankfully, I have most the songs because I own the cds, just going to take alot of time.This Message Edited On 11.29.07
If iTunes just lost them, then it sounds like the Library file just got corrupted. All of your music should still be on your hard drive. If you're using windows, check in your "My Music" folder for the iTunes folder.
Edit: Oh, to make this post relevant to the review... I think they're something you'd like, especially since you like The Birthday Massacre.This Message Edited On 11.29.07