PATRICK HEMER - More Than Meets The Eye

Patrick Hemer - More Than Meets The Eye

11 songs
57:45 minutes
***** **


Does anyone remember German-French metal band Horizon? They released two albums between 2002 and 2004, and the latter, Worlds Apart, took me quite by surprise. Yet even then, the band was mostly the brainchild of Patrick Hemer. After Horizon split up, he went on being a session musician and guitar teacher, but must have thought that it was once again time to record an album, this time under his own name. Apart from a hired drummer and keyboarder, Patrick Hemer is in charge of everything: vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards.

Frankly I didn’t expect too much, because all too often these kind of solo albums turn out to be egomaniac tripe, but Patrick Hemer was smart enough to concentrate his energies on good songwriting. Of course there are more instrumental tracks than on an album by a regular metal band, but the “normal” songs still prevail. Stylistically we are in the presence of melodic progressive power metal, which most of the time has enough punch to carry the audience along. Especially the drummer is allowed a lot of double bass drum attacks (just listen to the storming Thorn In My Flesh!) that I don’t remember in that way from Hemer’s Horizon years. The main attraction is of course jack-of-all-trades Patrick Hemer himself. His frequent solos are influenced by the neo-classical masters (Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen,…), while vocals are ok enough if a bit nasal at times and reminding therefore somewhat of Klaus Meine.

The important thing though is that the songwriting never stands behind his instrumental prowess, so that we are left with great progressive power metal gems that are furthermore enhanced by his brilliant soloing. The album may be running a bit too long with its nearly one hour length, and especially in the middle there is a little slump, but towards the end we are surprised with some reinvigoration, especially on the short yet crisp Death On Two Legs which has a certain musical flair.

Fans of progressive power metal should be at the right address and never be afraid of being served some lukewarm melodic metal. Patrick Hemer may not achieve the same status as the genre’s top bands like Nevermore and Symphony X, but that’s less to a lack of quality than to the fact that artists working under the own name are often, and this case certainly unfairly, overlooked.

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