The Dutch Gothic Rock/Metal formation NEMESEA was formed back in 2002, a period when bands like AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION, to name just these other two Dutch Gothic Rock/Metal bands, scored in terms of popularity. In 2004 NEMESEA put out their debut album, “Mana”. This was well-received in the press and it was as if a new contender for the Gothic throne in the Netherlands was born. I didn’t keep track of them, didn’t even notice the follow-up “In Control”, which came out in 2007. Apparently this came to be thanks to the website sellaband.com, where the band found enough fans to invest in the band so they could collaborate with Tony Platt, who previously worked with IRON MAIDEN, AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD (and produced NEMESEA’s second album) and Ronald Prent, known for his work with RAMMSTEIN, HIM, WITHIN TEMPTATION (and more).
Two years after “In Control”, a live album saw the light of day under the title “Pure: Live @ P3”. Another two years later then, and thanks to a deal with Napalm Records, album no. 3 is out since the 18th November 2011: “The Quiet Resistance”. Judging from the few songs I heard back in 2004 and how the new material sounds, the band changed style, opted for a more Poppy approach, electronic touches and even some Nu-Metal. For “The Quiet Resistance” NEMESEA worked with ex-AFTER FOREVER keyboardist Joost van den Broek, who co-produced, mixed, and mastered the album. On this release you can also hear some guests: Charlotte Wessels (DELAIN) in “High Enough”, while Marcus Klavan
(vocals) and Matt Litwin (turntables) of American band BULLETPROOF MESSENGER contributed to the song “It’s Over”. Next to them, there’s Heli Reissenweber, the vocalist of the RAMMSTEIN cover band STAHLZEIT, who sings in “Allein”, a RAMMSTEIN-ish song.
“The Quiet Resistance” offers 14 tracks, which is food for discussion, in the sense that for some it’s too much, for others it’s alright. Anyway, the songs themselves are mostly around 4 minutes long, and in structure quite simple. This means they’re easy to listen to, sit through and have enough catchy parts to make you recognize the respective songs. It all begins with the title track, which is also the intro: “The Quiet Resistance”. It’s a spoken part, looped and can be described as loud whispering. Electronic backing helps in creating a certain mood. I must say, though, this looping/repetition does get annoying. If the lyrics would be more than that phrase, ok, but it isn’t. Luckily there’s “Caught In The Middle” to save the day. The electronic keyboards are vital for the melodic aspect. The guitars follow with power and this contrasts heavily with Manda’s clean and clear vocals. I wouldn’t call the song a Metal one, rather Pop with heavy guitars. Especially the chorus has a more Poppy feel. Here too, the electronic samples add to the fullness. The guitars are only added for power and rhythm, while the drums maintain a standard pattern, albeit a bit dancy. But the end result is good, very good.
“Afterlife” could have been an EVANESCENCE song, mainly judging by the start of the song (just guitar and vocals). The electronic input is also of importance, while overall this is a slower, but very melodic song. Worth noticing is the passionate singing in the chorus. Manda can sing, that’s for sure. “Whenever” is an acoustic Pop song with samples and it’s only in the chorus that the Rocking power comes out with a violin guiding the vocals. The following guitar solo is inline with the feel and melody of the song. This song is catchy, simple and perfect to be played on the radio. Another radio-friendly song is “If You Could”. Beginning with soft singing and soft piano assistance, this has the stamp of a ballad. The music does rock in the last part.
In “High Enough” it’s the electronic and symphonic elements that take the lead, while guitars and drums provide rhythm and power. The verses are clean and devoid of distortion. The singing is, obviously, also clean, but done at a lower volume. The chorus, by contrast, is where the power and volume come out. It’s a melodic midtempo track with male vocals over halfway. The key aspect of this song, as I noticed it, is the singing, which is very well done. “Say” comes fading in with samples and the music itself to be taken over by symphonic Rock/Metal in vein of EVANESCENCE and alike. The verses again contrast with the chorus, like before. Just the vocals, bass, drums and piano in the back. And that’s indeed the case, in the back. Male vocals come in in the bridge, at which point the guitars come to life. The chorus sounds more powerful, but have a ballad feel.
And the EVANESCENCE comparison continues, for which I apologise. We all were bombarded with the “Bring Me To Life” song several years back and the following singles were also in that style. I haven’t kept track of this band at all, don’t know how they sound like now, if they still exist. But anyway, “It’s Over” adds more power to the tracklist. The verses have male lead vocals (see above), sampled drums (turntables?) and piano touches. However, this combo is radio-friendly. Manda’s vocals come in in the bridge where the music also grows in volume as the chorus nears. There the male vocals are again dominant, but there’s room for female ones. The result is not bad, but personally, it’s the Poppy stuff that bothers me and in particular the effects on the vocals.
“I Live” sets in with soft piano lines before full power is let out. The music sounds melancholic and emotional. The verses (with the piano and regular singing) battle with the chorus, where the singing occurs more passionately. All in all, an ok result. “Stay With Me” is, I dare say, a highlight (in my humble opinion). It’s a Poppy symphonic Rock song with catchy melodies and harmonies. It’s even quite bombastic here and there. “Rush” is another song where electronics play a big role. It’s also a dreamy song, though provides full-on melodic Rock in the chorus. Emotions were an important matter when this song was written, as one can also judge by the (loud) singing. Like before, it’s a catchy song, but also simple.
While you’re on the Poppy track, with a touch of Nu Metal, why not introduce some Drum ‘n’ Bass as well? That’s where “Release Me” comes in. The piano offers accents, aside from the electronic waves and soft singing. Yes, the chorus is where the rocking happens, and this sounds even anthem-like. I like it. The guitar solo makes the track complete. A song I did not get was “2012”. This is filled with electronic happenings. Before that happens, it’s the piano that has the honour to set in the song and be there for the atmosphere. The music is dark and spooky, styled in the Industrial genre with a touch of Drum ‘n’ Bass. The guitars are there, but not high in the mix and even sound disorted (in a remix kind of way). No singing is allowed, but halfway a text is spoken. Maybe it’s because this track is so different from the others and perhaps to linear, but I can’t do anything with it, so to speak. “Allein” is a German sung song and inline with RAMMSTEIN, STAHLMANN and similar. Manda plays a minor role, just in the chorus.
NEMESEA thus changed direction and opted for a more catchy, radio-friendly and Poppy approach in terms of music. The lyrics, according to Manda, remain important and thus she didn’t choose easy subjects, for which one can only be happy. The production is obviously well done, this sounds extremely professional and grand. And for that, you can only respect the work and effort the band has put into this release. For those who don’t mind more simple songs, yet with symphonic and electronic input, though not exactly Metal, “The Quiet Resistance” is worth checking out. For those looking for a more Metalized album, you’ll have to look at, for example, EPICA, XANDRIA, DIABOLUS IN MUSICA, TRAIL OF TEARS or another band in that ocean.
- The Quiet Resistance
- Caught In The Middle
- If You Could
- High Enough
- It’s Over
- I Live
- Stay With Me
- Release Me
Manda Ophuis – vocals
Hendrik Jan (HJ) de Jong – guitar
Lasse Dellbrugge – keyboards / electronics
Sonny Onderwater – bass
Frank van der Star – drums