Nemesea
Mana


4.5
superb

Review

by Malen USER (36 Reviews)
April 1st, 2024 | 3 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fallenmania, Part 4

What are these rare bands that can take inspiration from Fallen but make it really their own? As a matter of fact, I’ve already talked about one of them. Yes, today, I am finally reviewing Nemesea’s wonderful debut “Mana”.

This album is magical, because of its impressive quality, its dark atmosphere and its lyrics about witches, demons and death. It’s the kind of symphonic metal album I love, with multi-part songs, intros and outros, operatic vocals, orchestration and ambition, and a deliciously dark atmosphere. After all, it begins with a vaguely gloomy intro, before into going into the slightly creepy choirs and dark but powerful verses of “Threefold Law” and its lyrics about the mysterious rituals of thirteen witches at midnight in the woods, described as knowing “no difference between evil and good”. This song has so much atmosphere. It’s also well written enough to make what would otherwise feel incredibly cheesy sound compellingly dark.

This dark and wonderfully symphonic sound continues throughout the album. There’s “Empress”, with its dark strings and haunting vocal performance, with lyrics describing a fascinating but “atrocious kind” of character. “Beyond Evil” continues the themes described in “Threefold Law”, with its really heavy riff, sinister vocals, and lyrics condemning someone for using magic for their own selfish ends. If you had to describe the album’s overall sound, or the sound of symphonic metal in its purest form, look no further than “Disclosure”, with its power metal riff and violins, and sort of magical lyrics.

These, along with the four parts “Mortalitas”, is the most purely symphonic metal track on the album. All the four “Mortalitas” are the centerpiece of the album. The first one, called “The Taker”, has a darkly symphonic instrumentation and peculiar vocal melodies from Manda’s perfectly clear soprano voice, and a nice, clear guitar solo. Then, “Dies Irae” is just a choir singing over eerie violins, “Moriendum Tibi Est” has the violins, riffs and industrial effects going wild and some creepy Latin spoken word poetry, and finally “From Beneath You it Devours” gets creepy all the way, with a sinister piano and equally sinister vocal melody.

It reminds me a lot of Epica but with a much darker, witchier tone, and it’s almost as good as early After Forever. However, “Threefold Law” has a few Fallen-ish riffs and an unexpectedly catchy chorus, while “Angel in the Dark”, the melancholic ballad with strings, industrial sounds and simple but catchy riffs, feels like something you could hear on a movie soundtrack, like a more symphonic “Bring Me To Life” or “My Immortal”. “Cry” is another beautiful Fallen-esque ballad. “Lucifer” is the one that sounds the most like a more symphonic Fallen track, in the best of ways, with its menacing choir and keyboards, its crazy fast riff that sounds both like a nu metal and symphonic metal riff, sinister industrial sounds, even wilder violins and lyrics about a being that’s so evil, but still can be defeated if you’re brave enough. It’s the first Nemesea song I ever heard, and still my favorite from that band.

“Mana” was a wild ride. It gets better with every listen. It’s the best kind of debut you could hope for. I’m impressed that such a young band managed to craft such a great album, one that hits the sweet spot of taking all the best parts of its obvious inspirations while having enough personality and skills to sound completely unique. Maybe it set the bar too high for them, which is why they had to go to a completely different styles on their next albums. The same thing probably happened to Omega Lithium. And just like for Omega Lithium, I’m not really mad at Nemesea, because if you have an album like “Mana” in your discography, you’re entitled to some respect from music fans. “Mana” forever.



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user ratings (11)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hawks
April 1st 2024


86681 Comments


You're a good writer bro and I dig ur style. Try to only post one review a day though lol.

Dreamflight
April 2nd 2024


2198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally a review for this and a well written one.



Can't say I agree with the Evanescence inspiration though, if anything I'd say WT's Enter is their main source.



It suck the band went downhill after this and IIRC they kinda shit on this album.

Willie
Moderator
April 4th 2024


20212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Manda was gorgeous and an underrated vocalist for sure. The best she ever did was on this album, but I do like the next one too.



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