In Control - Nemesea

reviewed by lec** | Monday, May 12 2008 @ 02:56:01 GMT        

Cover art

In Control

Release date: June 21, 2007
Length: 33:51
Genre: Gothic rock, gothic metal

  1. No More
  2. In Control
  3. Home
  4. The Way I Feel
  5. Lost Inside
  6. Remember
  7. Believe
  8. Like The Air
  9. Broken
  10. Never
Reviews » Music

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I more or less accidentally stumbled upon this band and this album during some nighttime browsing, and thought: "hey, here's a band worth listening to". What followed was quite literally an obsession with this album. I spent many days listening to Nemesea's In Control, and even now at the time of writing, I'm still enjoying it.

The gothic rock/metal label on this album could be a little misleading, as I would decribe this album as an electronic-sounding alternate rock or neo-gothic rock release with elements of metal, but being a much milder and more mainstream-sounding gothic metal than what you may expect. In fact, if you're not a fan of the gothic/symphonic metal and rock genres, this CD may well appeal to you because it lacks the agressiveness and darkness you may associate with it - though you really can feel the modern idea of gothic rock in this, the combination is such that you don't feel gloom or despair, it's just sheer energy. This album is super charged, danceable, catchy and more leaning towards alternative rock than any metal, though I can understand it really couldn't be tagged any other way. It's pretty special.

If you have listened to bands like After Forever, Epica, Within Temptation and such, you will be very pleased to know this album sounds similar (wait, wait...!), but doesn't continue the eon-long legacy of being uncreative and often positively boring by using the same musical templates handed down by generations of the gothic/symphonic genres (aha!). In fact, they seem to be coming from somewhere else, and can definitely not be considered "a clone". This album is incredibly fresh and dynamic, the songs being energetic and appealing, though still bearing a mark of gothic - just enough to give a general direction for the music, not enough to thread it with the associated despair. Of course, lead vocalist Manda Ophuis' voice is incredible, and though I'm impressed the most by female-fronted metal, you will understand just how unthinkable the CD would be otherwise once you start listening. The whole CD was just so divinely genuine and likeable from the first listen, I could frankly not take my earphones off, in fear of returning to the ugly everyday world where Manda's beautiful voice and these fantastic riffs were just zeros and ones on my iPod's hard disk.

The album kicks off with what may well be the darkest and most typically neo-gothic metal sounding tune of all, No More, though it's equally as catchy as the other songs. In Control, which is the second and shares the name of the album, is one of my favourites - upbeat and popular-sounding, it demonstrates perfectly that this band has really done a good job at porting some gothic attributes to a dance/electronic environment, which is probably more acceptable for most people, and demolishes the often unwanted gothic-related emotions of angst or sentimentality - in one word, I'd describe this album as "energy". Home and Lost Inside are a little different, but still resemble In Control in their foundations.

The Way I Feel is a piano ballad with guitar choruses featuring the singer Cubworld, and is one song that is really set apart from the rest with a slightly different mood, though it still fits perfectly in with the other songs. Don't expect death grunts, Cubworld sings in a super-melodic, quiet, soothing way. In the chorus the two vocalists' voices fit together harmoniously, making this a very mainstream-sounding and powerful emotional song, that really contributes to the album as a whole.

If you were drawn to this album just by the gothic label, there are still enough lingering influences to keep you interested including some solid guitar melodies from time to time, though you should find it a great album unless you're looking for extreme metal, Nightwishy orchestrations, and are disappointed by popular-sounding melodies. The song most true to their gothic label is Like the Air, which induces powerful associations with Within Temptation, in particular. The chorus on this song has some of the strongest, most soaring vocals from Manda, and the melody behind it is more folk influenced than pop influenced. Broken sounds similar, but inexorably reminds of The Birthday Massacre, particularly in the chorus.

Nemesea is a rather difficult band to stick tags onto. The fresh blend of techo-ish synth rock and electronica with female-fronted metal and gothic in Nemesea's second album is definitely worth a listen. For me, this release was excellent mainly because of this unique blend I have not noticed before. The standard gothic rock genre is associated with a drowsy bleakness, anger or darkness and heavy moods. Metal implies very heavy listening, and almost completely exclusive appeal to listeners of that genre. Symphonic will stir up ideas of epic, dramatic moods ruined by a series of wholly overused motives, repeated to the point of stomach ulcers for the listeners. This album came as a surprise, because it was remarkably fresh and upbeat, with an incredible sense of energy (I have to repeat that, it really is true), though the lyrics and music in practically all of the songs subtly reflect typical gothic tendencies.

Energetic rock/metal with a popular sound, not suited for "hardcore" listeners of gothic metal who won't like the absence of choirs, heavy guitars and pipe organs but a great album for everyone else.
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