Release Title: Unreflected Mirror
Label: MS Metal Agency
Release Date: 12 November 2018
Location: Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil
Digital Price: 9.49 USD (Amazon Music)
Length: 57min 28s
There is such a range of great metal coming out of Brazil, which is why we here at Cave Dweller Music love to keep a close eye on the music there. Today we present to you Hamen, who have made a recent string of performances promoting their first full-length album Unreflected Mirror.
One of the standout Brazilian symphonic metal bands, Hamen goes all the way back to vocalist Monica Possel’s ideas in 2005, having had a strong desire for years to be part of a symphonic metal band. Having studied classical music & classical singing, she discovered After Forever and Nightwish and decided that she had to pursue the path of metal. A path that many Cave Dweller Music readers enjoy, as I’m sure many will enjoy the work that her path led to with Hamen.
Possel’s path saw the band on hiatus for some time after the first founding, before reforming years later and eventually releasing their first EP, Altar, in 2015. In 2018 they released their first full-length studio album, Unreflected Mirror, and now here we are with a recent new run of goods after some standout performances in online metal festivals such as Lunar Sessions, Under Fest, Caio Indica Fest, Power Woman Fest and more. Hamen even did well enough to represent the state of Santa Catarina during some of those performances.
Hamen’s lineup consists of Monica Possell on vocals and piano, and of course her vocals are front and center throughout Unreflected Mirror. This is not without good reason however, as she does an excellent job, even switching between languages in the course of the album (Portuguese and Italian at different points). Possell, the soprano she is, manages to hit some impressive high notes in tracks like A New Beginning, being perfectly placed as one aspect of a track – like one form of instrumental solo among others featured. Vocally we also have moments of growls & death-like harshness in A New Beginning, which works well enough for the slightly raw feel of the album.
That slightly raw sound works well here because it adds to the depth of the album. There is more to enjoy here beyond Possell’s vocals, and with a close listen the makings of some quality metal that doesn’t feel too polished brings the music down to earth just enough to give it some complexity sometimes lacking from symphonic metal bands. Possel didn’t just slap on her soprano vocals and some pianos – there is a little more detail here, and a nice balance of complexity and raw metal that the band achieved.
For instance, especially in the second half, there is much to enjoy. Founding member Cadu Puccini on guitars does a good job shredding and wailing in his solo in Song of the Heart but knows when to keep it simple as well. Chimerical Love has a similar feel with Gabriel Pedroso’s drumwork, pounding along in My True Freedom (Invasive Feelings 3), but amping it up when needed. Moments of raw, high speed drumming blend seamlessly with some more technical moments – little details not always immediately noticeable, but they are there for those with a keen ear.
There is also bassist Matheus Maia, who has some great little moments that do require some closer listening, but he shines, nonetheless. In Intimate Future (Invasive Feelings 1), for instance, Maia is the focus of some great little bass runs towards the end of the track. Falling Skies has a slower section three minutes in has some nice little bassy detail, and A New Beginning has some great moments where Maia’s work really slaps in just the right way. It would be great if Maia got a chance to shine even more in future releases, because his appearances towards the front of the mix really benefit Unreflected Mirror a lot.
We have another quality symphonic metal release from Brazil with Unreflected Mirror, one that continues to garner praise a few years after its first release. The main run of hard copy releases is now out of stock, however we were informed by the band that if you use their store form or contact them via email, you can still arrange to get copies. Alternatively, you can buy the album digitally via Amazon Music, and streaming is of course available on all major platforms.
Regardless of the format, you should listen to Unreflected Mirror with a close ear, and in doing so you will really notice some complexity here that you might not otherwise notice. Hamen has chosen the right time to really begin bringing their live music to the world again, and hopefully this run will serve as a lead-in to another release. We here at Cave Dweller will enjoy Unreflected Mirror in the mean time.
I hope you enjoy Unreflected Mirror.
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