Nemesis - Eden?


Year of Release: 2002
Label: Sensory
Catalog Number: SR3015
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:25:00

Stephanie wrote a combined review of For Promotional Use Only and Eden?. Both titles listed separately

Before their recent album Eden? was released (in North America) by Sensory earlier this year, Hungary's Nemesis had already released two albums (Nemesis in 1998 and Abraxas in 1999) in their native country, and in their native language. They are among the top Hungarian bands, and have been working with two other well known Hungarian acts Solaris and After Crying on an instrumental project called Goddess Nemesis, which is also a title of one of their tracks. After recording their first two albums, the band broke up. When they reformed it was with new members. In 2001, they decided to re-record their first two albums in English to try and break into the world market. Putting some of those re-recorded tracks together, they released to labels and the media a compilation promo disc called, appropriately enough, For Promotional Use Only. Based on hearing this, Ken Golden at The Laser's Edge/Sensory signed the band, resulting in the release of Eden?. In early 2003, a second release will be issued, Psychogeist [Though it ended up being 2006 -ed.]. This album will contain the suite "Psychogeist" that appeared on their second Hungarian-language album. Three of the tracks on Promotional also appear on Eden?. Except in a few cases, I cannot determine which tracks on their first two appear on Eden?. The title track is from Abraxas, and the two part "Eternal Circle" suite is from Nemesis, as is "Predestination" (the latter two of these are also on the promotional CD).

Some things were a little fuzzy for me for a while, as the band members credited on the sleeve for Promotional don't correspond to the bio on the band's website -- but for one, Zed (Zolt?n) F?bi?n. But, because I can't let such mysteries lie still, further research suggests that the members changed their names. Thus bassist/vocalist Csaba Berczelly is credited as Chad Bero, keyboardist Gy?rgy Nagy is Nad Dury, drummer L?szl? Nagy is Les Grand, vocalist Zolt?n Kiss is Ian Lamb. Why is another matter, but their names are "correct" for Eden?.

Facts out of the way, what about the music? Well, various readers will assume different things by the band's name, and one group will be right. Some (a teensy-weensy minority) might think it's a play on Genesis, the anti-Genesis perhaps. A punk band with an anti-prog attitude. They'd be wrong. Some might think they're a death metal band, full of howls and screeches emanating from the pits of hell. They'd be wrong, mostly (though I believe there is a band of that type with the name). Nemesis are a melodic progressive metal band whose sound isn't limited to the expected prog metal touchstones. In fact, though you will hear a lot of the "heavyweights" in Nemesis' sound -- Fates Warning and Dream Theater, for example -- it's those unexpected elements that make this more appealing.

Nemesis' sound is both crunchy and smooth, often at the same time. It's accessible and instantly likeable. In fact, prog rock fans that dislike metal because of the heavy chugga-chugga might just find they like Nemesis anyway. I think they have a nice balance between the two, giving their sound heft and weight without weighing it down. Now, why do I say prog rock fans might like Nemesis? Well, for the mix I just described, and because of one other element - lead vocalist Zoltan/Ian. Zoltan has a quite nice voice, barely accented ("nice" meaning: pleasant, easy to listen to, enough on key that I don't wince). In fact, you'd never guess from hearing him sing that they were a Hungarian band. Not saying that otherwise would be a bad thing, but since having no accent is important to a number of metal fans, I thought it bared some mention. Actually, I'd compare Zoltan to Jadis' vocalist Gary Chandler, especially on the more proggy (less metal) "Four Mirrors" (both CDs). The metal element that is there would lead to the Jadis with an edge, of course. Nemesis make a lot of use of keyboards, which does set them apart from many in this genre - I mean, sure most prog metal bands use keys, but here they are implemented more in a prog rock manner. I guess I'd put the band, based on this one track, somewhere between Arena/Threshold and Jadis/Pallas. Another highlight song is "Faceless Enemy" (Promotional), which includes a hint of Rush in the 80s-era Lifeson guitar solo from Fabian. Though that isn't why it's a highlight. Listening to this track, they already sound like a Sensory band. This isn't, however, one of the tracks that appear on Eden?. You'll hear in "Eternal Circle: Dismal Sorrow" a bit of guitar, bass and percussion that sounds very much like that familiar opening riff to Rush's "Witch Hunt." It's here, on this two part suite (part one is "Eternal Circle: Journey With Light"), that we get a little more crunch from the band.

"Goddess Nemesis" (Promotional) is an instrumental juggernaut that mixes some classic heavy crunch with some tasty guitar work. This is the solo showcase piece where the band really tears it up. And maybe no one else will think of it, but every once in a while, I'd think of Yes' "Cinema" (in a much heavier context).

The Promotional album opens (after a verbal intro from the album's producer) with the Middle-Eastern sounding "Eye Of The Snake." Keys provide a string backing to the booming, heavily percussive intro. This gives way to a heavy crunch and nice, clean vocals. The two elements that, while it doesn't make Nemesis unique, does define their sound.

The Eden? CD opens with "Reality's Door," which reminds me strongly of what Egdon Heath were doing with and after The Killing Silence. A heavier brand of "neo-prog," only I'd say Nemesis are heavier. And again, the prominent use of keys gives the sound a great balance. Sometimes, and I've said this before, the keys seem like an after thought, a little bit added over here off to the side, like parsley. But on this release (and with FW and DT, as well) the keys are part of the whole, crushed parsley mixed in with the hollandaise sauce?so to speak. (And for those of you who are culinaryily inclined, if that's a no-no, I apologize).

The mix seems a bit cleaner on Eden? than on Promotional, but that could just be an impression. I didn't listen to the tracks on each side by side to compare. Since the promo can't be purchased anyway, most listeners are going be hearing the Eden? version, anyway. "Eden?" sounds a little soft at the beginning, the digital drums (or so they sound) have a very mushy sound, though they are trying for something ominous. This is much better accomplished when the analog drums take over, putting the track on solid ground. It's here where you will think of Fates Warning the most, at least I did. During the song's bridge, Berczelly's bass throbs darkly, just this side of menacing. Thematically, this is about the end of the world, as the cover art for Eden? suggests - two people (one male, one female, as you might expect) staring at the remains of skyscrapers, dead ocean mammals (dolphins or whales, I can't tell?maybe both) at their feet, a pelican with patches of flesh showing where feathers once covered its chest?

Eden? ends with the beautiful "Viragenek (Hungarian Folksong)" which features some great piano from Gy?rgy Nagy, and singing in Hungarian. It is a nice, low key way to end the album -- chirping birds and the sounds of storm at the end counteract the depressing subjects the precede (though not knowing the lyrics to this, it may not be a wholly accurate statement.

While what Nemesis are doing isn't unique, they do it quite well. There are some really good performances and it's easy to see why the band are respected in their homeland. They were voted Best Unsigned Band of 2001 by the readers of Europe's Rock Hard magazine, who included one of the bands' pieces on a sampler CD included with an issue of the magazine. I forsee good things happening for this band.

The band have also recently released another Hungarian language album called Terra Incognita.

In/by 2006, the band changed their name to Age of Nemesis -ed.


Tracklisting:
Reality's Door (7:05) / Predestination (5:28) / Four Mirrors (6:36) / Eden? (9:32) / Faith (Instrumental) (3:15) / Eternal Circle - I. Journey With Light II. Dismal Sorrow (10:26) / Escape (5:33) / Viragenek (Hungarian Folksong) (5:29)

Musicians:
Chad Bero (Csaba Berczelly) - bass, vocals
Nad Dury (Gyorgy Nagy) - keyboards
Zed (Zoltan) Fabian - guitars, vocals
Les Grand (Laszlo Nagy) - drums
Ian Lamb (Zoltan Kiss) - vocals

Discography:
Nemesis (1998)
Abraxas (1999)
For Promotional Use Only (promo) (2001)
Eden? (2002)
Terra Incognita (2002, Hungary only)
Age of Nemesis - Psychogeist (2006)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin HU

Added: December 13th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.ageofnemesis.com
Hits: 1520
Language: english

  

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