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I have to say from the off, this has been something of a frustrating album for me; one that I've fallen in and out of love with to varying degrees during various listens. Music can either feed your mood or create your mood, with the former being dependent on a certain affective state before you even hit play and the latter a more naturally evolving emotional response to what you hear. I guess I've not always been in the right frame of mind or mood to appreciate Dutch band Nemesea's fourth full-length offering for what it is as, to be brutally honest, it's annoyed me. Manda Ophuis' vocal performance has been central to my frustration. This lady can sing, that's a given. But the tonality of her voice sometimes sounds a little forced, stretched and, dare I say, nasal. Opening track 'Hear Me' is a prime example of this. 'Can't Believe It' is another track where her singing seems to be nasal-centric. In fact, it's the album's rockier numbers where her vocals falter. She sounds great on the more balladic/pop-swayed pieces, so I'm guessing it's all to do with comfort-zone. 'Get Out' is a misplaced kitsch pop-rock track that should never exist, loaded with every cheesy cliché under the sun... the worst offender being the backing vocals here. And the seemingly over-sheened production and pop veins running throughout many of the songs, I've found too sickeningly sweet.

On the other hand, when I've listened to 'Uprise' on other occasions, I've simply loved it... to the point where I even find myself forgiving of Manda's vocal flaws. The nasal-inflicted singing on opener 'Hear Me' stops being annoying, and this groove-rock-metal number becomes fantastic. Also, there are some very strong melodies embedded in the arrangements here, to the point where they've stayed with me long after listening to the album. Hooks galore, I tell ya! And some beautiful pop-rock-electronic, quasi-ballad moments such as 'Twilight', 'Forever' and 'Let It Burn', where Manda seems to sing well within her comfort zone. The layered instrumentations with guitars, bass, drums and keys are also well-structured, arranged, executed, produced and mixed. The occasions when I find myself appreciating 'Uprise' for precisely what it is, I easily become submerged in songs' emotional depths... for there are a lot of emotions conveyed here. All that said. 'Get Out' still annoys the fuck out of me!

The Dutch have had a long, rich tradition of successful female-fronted rock/metal acts over the past couple of decades - The Gathering; Within Temptation; After Forever; Stream of Passion; Delain; Epica; Autumn et al. Nemesea continue that trend although, with the exception of overrated, perfunctary metal bores Epica, fall short of the musical prowess of bands past and present on that list. A respectable effort nonetheless, though... and I remain intrigued by how the music on 'Uprise' can alternately induce so many mixed sentiments in me!
Napalm Records
Review by Mark Holmes
29th April 2016
1) Hear Me
2) Twilight
3) Forever
4) Let It Burn
5) Time To Make It
6) Can't Believe It
7) Light Up The Sky
8) Get Out
9) Bones
10) Hold On
"...there are some very strong melodies embedded in the arrangements here..."