PATRICK HEMER – More Than Meets The Eye [re-release + bonus] (2013)
“More Than Meets The Eye” is the perfect title for this album by PATRICK HEMER, who in Europe is a well acclaimed studio musician and guitar instructor. His recognition is paired with the early 2000’s while he was the frontman and worked the fretboards of the German hard rockers Horizon, with whom recorded two albums.
With some musical shades of his former band, “More Than Meets The Eye” certainly projects him in the light of an intensely talented musician and a brilliant guitar player.
Style wise Hemer veers from stylized prog metal, melodic hard rock in the vein of Dokken to a an European metallic thump that reminds of Primal Fear, while also nodding to some Dio. Despite of being a guitar wizzard, Hemer has worked this material with a ‘song orientation’ and called drummer extraordinaire Tom Wagner and keyboardist David Casanova to build a real band sound.
The man can certainly play and he doesn’t care who knows it, with his fiery solos positively spitting out virtuosity and energy. However things never descend into the realms of technicality over substance, with the melodies behind the songs and Hemer’s strong Don Dokken meets Michael Eden (ex-Eden’s Curse) vocals adding another dimension to music that could, in the wrong hands, have turned into an exercise in ‘look at me’.
That pitfall isn’t only avoided, it is skilfully eradicated through tracks like “Edge Of Insanity” where double kick barrages bounce off squealing guitars and mighty riffs, or the slower approach of “Thorn In My Flesh”, an unmistakable late ’80s US heavy rock vibe delivered through classy harmony vocals and a keen guitar melody.
All the while Hemer adds splashes of colour through his six string abilities; fret flurries, arpeggios or hammer ons keeping things interesting. That said the funky metallic stomp of “Panem Et Circenses” where the chorus firmly sticks in the mind, or the brooding, gritty riff and layered keys that makes “Up From The Ashes” confidently straddle prog metal/ hard rock genres, don’t exactly need a lot of window dressing to catch the eye.
Then factor in the heartfelt “For All Eternity” where Hemer proves he can sideline the more adventurous side of his playing for something more considered (the results landing in Eden’s Curse territory), or the more rockin’ fist to the face of “Legend In Your Own Mind” and you have an album that satisfies on a surprising amount of levels.
Hemer even gives an homage to one of his influences when he covers Queen’s “Death On Two Legs”, a risky selection arranged in a progressive metal way which works really well.
The album not only features Hemer’s lyrics and clean voice, but there are two well placed (and played) instrumental tracks in “Firelight” and “Terra Incognita”, two rather tasty pure fret magic numbers.
“More Than Meets The Eye” was originally self-released by Patrick Hemer two years ago with poor distribution, and now is being re-launched featuring as bonus three tracks in alternate versions (quite different from the originals).
This album, like the style of Hemer, shows a lofty amount of promising notions. There are quick paced prog metal numbers, muscular hard rockers, a ballad and a couple a excellent instrumentals. All are solid, well-constructed, well-executed and not too over the top (in the guitar department) songs with great dynamics.
“More Than Meets The Eye” possesses a real sense of strength and rockin’ spirit and will please a wide range of listeners, there’s something for everybody here, from metal progsters to classic hard rock headbangers.
01 – Up From The Ashes
02 – Thorn In My Flesh
03 – Edge Of Insanity
04 – For All Eternity
05 – Firelight
06 – The Godfather
07 – Panem Et Circenses
08 – Legend In Your Own Mind
09 – Death On Two Legs
10 – Guilty
11 – Terra Incognita
12 – Thorn In My Flesh (alternate version) [bonus track]
13 – Panem Et Circenses (alternate version) [bonus track]
14 – For All Eternity (acoustic version) [bonus track]
Patrick Hemer – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
David Casanova – keyboards
Tom Wagner – drums, percussion
Eric Farkas, Chris Moreau – background vocals
BUY IT !