Dutch band Nemesea was founded at the conservatory of Groningen, The Netherlands in 2002. With Uprise the band released their fourth album so far in a setting that was cut back to the core of vocalist Manda Ophuis, guitarist and vocalist HJ (Hendrik Jan de Jong) and bass player Sonny Onderwater. On the album, the real drums and percussion are played by Steven Bouma and among the list of guest musicians and vocalists I notice the name of Joost Van Den Broek adding his skills on the piano to the bonus track If You Could. Previous keyboard player Bas Veeren also contributed on a number of songs.
From the beginning, Nemesea was getting positive publicity and the band was seen as one of the major talents that would be knocking on the door of the top of the Dutch female-fronted symphonic rock/metal scene; bands like Within Tempation, Delain and the late After Forever.
When I listen to Uprise, I do hear influences of these bands and I have to credit Nemesea for not copying them, but walk the path they have chosen. A path that slightly steps away from the bands describes above. Uprise is a more poppy album, filled with über catchy vocal parts, songs that are made for “middle of the road” radio. A song like Get Out should absolutely be played on the popular radio stations and I guess the average soft rock listener would love it. The song Forever also should appeal to the radio friendly rock fan, a band like the also Dutch Kensington comes to mind during the vocal choirs. Let It Burn is a great ballad that builds power, here Manda has a similar sound to Sharon Den Adel at certain spots, something she can be proud of. Overall Manda's vocals are very much above the average vocalist. During all the compositions she stands her ground and I think she can be seen as one of the most promising voices of female-fronted Dutch bands. Listen to the bonus track If You Could and you will agree what a beautiful voice Manda displays here. Writing just about the vocals would not do justice to the performances from the band's instrumentalists, all of them do a great job and although there are no guitar solos, I think Nemesea's compositions on Uprise are fine just as they are. I do have to mention drummer Steven for a great job on the album.
Uprise is an album that should/ could lift Manda Ophuis' career to another level. The songs on the album are a bit of both; a minority of progressive rock songs on one hand, a large number of radio friendly pop rock on the other hand. Fans of Evanescence and the aforementioned bands should check the album out, but I hope for airplay, because if it comes, I think Nemesea will get the chance to shine on the larger Dutch stage.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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