Historically, progressive rock and metal have been genres primarily reserved, or perhaps almost exclusively enjoyed, by a largely male demographic. However, with their latest release, the female-led Heartsick Heroine not only smashes the stereotypes of progressive metal being a boys’ club, but they do it with a roaring ferocity.
Heartsick Heroine is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Allen and Hannah Maddox; a project that first took shape in 2019 after picking up the pieces following the breakup of their previous band, Scarlet Canary.
The band’s second full-length studio album, Gemini, was released on January 16, 2024, effectively setting the pace for the new year on a high, and loud, note.
Gemini starts off with the heavy and catchy prog metal anthem Kiss the Ring, showcasing each member’s impressive skills right off the bat. The track features intricate, disjointed guitar passages from Allen supplemented with intense double-kicks courtesy of drummer John DiGeronimo.
At the forefront are the powerful, massive vocals from Hannah which showcase an incredibly wide range both in pitch and intensity. The singer’s voice can go from a delicate, melodic style to an all-out scream in an instant.
The album’s first single, Baseline, truly shows just how much Heartsick Heroine can rock. Hannah’s vocals are reminiscent of staples of female-fronted rock bands such as Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale and Dorothy, with choruses of ‘whoas’ to add to the catchiness.
While the band technically formed in Denver back in 2019, the couple have since relocated to Minnesota. However, before heading out of town, they made sure to record a music video for Baseline featuring footage from five different concerts that took place in venues such as The Moxi Theater, Wild Goose Saloon, The Black Buzzard, as well as the last show they played in the Centennial State.
One of the album’s more sensitive moments is the emotional ballad Heavy Hearts, a track that somehow manages to be light and heavy at the same time. Pain can be felt in Hannah’s vocals as the track builds to a final climax, after which the chorus lingers in the listener’s head.
The album appropriately feels like a marriage between Allen’s progressive metal guitar stylings and Hannah’s rocking, powerful vocals with tastes of heavy staccato riffs similar to what you might find on a Disturbed album.
While the aforementioned prog influences can be heard throughout much of Gemini, some tracks like Dysmorphic Flower, the album’s second single, incorporate more of a straightforward hard rock vibe.
Prior to recording and releasing Gemini, Heartsick Heroine had already amassed quite the impressive list of acts that they opened for including Puddle of Mudd, Saliva, and Skillet, to name a few.
Despite being geographically apart from the rest of their bandmates, the Maddox couple assures fans that they plan to return to Colorado from time to time to play shows and if Gemini is any indication of how the shows are going to sound, you can rest assured that they will be hard rocking and fun times.