Review: Nemesea ­- 'Uprise'

Dutch rock music is synonymous with sweeping keyboards, symphonic arrangements, and the occasional foray into some inoffensive melodic metal, but above all, think Dutch rock music and you think ­strong and powerful female voices. Manda Ophuis is another name to add to this list. Nemesea strayed off of the symphonic metal path some time ago and ventured over to the dark side, often known as electronica, but by doing so, they have perhaps made that tiny difference that makes them stand out from the crowd. There are guitars on ‘Uprise’, handled ably by the chap simply known as HJ, but any purist of the guitar solo will be disappointed, as the guitars featured help to provide a backdrop, as the vocals from Ophuis are pushed to the forefront over layers of keyboard and synth fills. Less Within Temptation, more 30 Seconds To Mars, not quite the full on electronica of Pvris, but take components of these bands, and you get the picture. Withstanding the absence of gee­tar solos, there is still enough on the album to warrant your attention and repeat listens. It’s a commercial (and in places, quite a pop) album, but it opens up with one of the hardest tracks on the album, ‘Hear Me’, which wastes no time with it’s powerful and instant intro. The keyboards are light, and help give the track great energy, while HJ keeps it simple. His guitar sound lends the track a bit of muscle. ’Twilight’, and ‘Forever’, are two of the more commercial tracks on the album, very much in the now and in a time when someone can dig Bring Me The Horizon, Imagine Dragons and 5SOS at the same time without ridicule. Nemesea should be able to slot right in there. Not too heavy, but just enough crunch to keep some folks happy, while secretly hitting the replay button on the delicious ‘Forever’. ‘Let It Burn’ has a great dual vocal performance from Ophuis. Soft, almost spoken word, vocals build on an ascending drum beat to reach a soaring climax. I’d say it’s a guilty pleasure, but there are so many connotations with that term that it doesn’t do the track justice. ’Can’t Believe It’ features some steady, driving guitar before a massive mid section that just screams Jared Leto ! (another guilty pleasure… damn!). It’s simple, effective, and really, really good. ‘Light Up The Sky’ deserves to be a huge hit single. Simple premise; take the guitar, bass and drums from U2’s ‘With Or Without You’, and turn them way up, fade out his holiness (aka Bono), and drop in some vocals that would bring a tear to a glass eye, and hey presto, hit single! Now, where’s my fucking royalties?! This softer, more natural, style of singing suits Ophuis much more, I feel, than when she is reaching for the higher notes. ‘Bones’ is more energetic, up tempo rock, with the guys in the band handling the harmonies, and it has a prog-­tastic synth solo mid­song… nice! ’Hold On’ closes the album out with some nifty drum work, on a peach of a track that takes the heartbreak from previous tracks, and offers some hope for the future.
This is a great example of giving an album more than one spin before making your mind up. ‘Uprise’ is released April 29th through Napalm Records and can be pre­ordered here Review: Dave Stott

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