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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Fine On My Stereo!
There's a lot of comments on this about the sound quality being poor. Whilst I will accept that it isn't perfect - it isn't as bad as some people are making out. I listen to most of my music in the car and in the gym - and this album gets no complaints from me. Maybe if you're listening really loudly on a state of the art system then you might encounter problems, I don't...
Published 1 month ago by CaptainKatana

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit conventional
I pre-ordered this and have been listening to it since it arrived. Personally I have been a bit disappointed. I really don't think the duets add anything to the songs but the fundamental problem is that in comparison with their previous albums it's just very conventional. To me it lacked the spark that made them different and that attracted me to them in the first place.
Published 1 month ago by Soundasleeper


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Fine On My Stereo!, 3 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Hydra (MP3 Download)
There's a lot of comments on this about the sound quality being poor. Whilst I will accept that it isn't perfect - it isn't as bad as some people are making out. I listen to most of my music in the car and in the gym - and this album gets no complaints from me. Maybe if you're listening really loudly on a state of the art system then you might encounter problems, I don't know. For those who may have complained about the sound quality of Metallica's Death Magnetic - this album sounds a lot better than that when the volume is up.

With that rubbish out of the way, I will say that this is the first WT album I have purchased. My opinion, therefore, is not tainted by previous releases and I cannot - and will not - compare it to older albums that may or not be widely regarded as the band's best.

This album has opened the door for me in terms of wanting to hear more from WT, so in my case, I would say that is a success.

At least 7 out of the 10 songs on here are nothing short of fantastic. Melodic, operatic, heavy and beautiful all at the same time.

Let me tell you how this whole thing played out for me. I saw the album advertised and thought I'd give it a listen to see what I thought. I haven't ever been tempted by WT before but for some reason this was different. Perhaps it's because I've recently started listening to similar band (Nightwish), perhaps it was just the cover, maybe it was an accumulation of a lot of things - but when I first heard 'Let Us Burn' I knew that I was going to buy the album. Fantastic from start to finish, this track really grabbed my attention and my imagination.

The addition of Xzibit has got some fans' knickers in a twist - but why? It's one song on one album, and to me, it sounds great. He adds a different dimension to 'And We Run'. This is what makes great albums in some cases - variety without deviating too far from the script. It seems that because of who he is, this song has received some bad reviews. To me, it keeps the album exciting and fresh as you move through the tracks.

'Dangerous' and 'Whole World is Watching' are other highlights - as well as 'Paradise' which, ironically for me, features Tarja. I had never been interested in Nightwish (having heard several of their more famous songs) until I heard Imaginaerum, which was fronted by Tarja's replacement, Anette Olzen. Here, Tarja sounds absolutely wonderful. It's funny how these things work out, sometimes.

Again, this album has made me want to hear more of this band. It has also given me new appreciation for Tarja Turunen and even Howard Jones (of Killswitch Engage). I know all of Xzibit's old albums but maybe there's someone out there inspired enough by his performance on 'And We Run' to dig into his back catalogue.

A significant album on this listener's journey through the genres. 4 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit conventional, 11 Mar 2014
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I pre-ordered this and have been listening to it since it arrived. Personally I have been a bit disappointed. I really don't think the duets add anything to the songs but the fundamental problem is that in comparison with their previous albums it's just very conventional. To me it lacked the spark that made them different and that attracted me to them in the first place.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What has happened here!?, 13 Feb 2014
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I give this album three stars as I love the vocals, and the songs are good in general, but the recording/production quality is very poor.

If you play it at medium volume on an average system the album flows on in the background and the tunes are quite catchy, maybe you won't notice any problem. But play it through decent headphones however and it is a fuzzy mess, with hi-hats filling the crunching sound about half a beat out of sync behind the main beat, which sounds really annoying.

Collectively it is such a poor job. Is it over compressed? I have CD's from 25 years ago that were recorded/mixed better than this. I tried some to compare afterwards as I actually thought my system was on its way out, but the old albums are sharp and clear, whereas Hydra is just a mess of sound that is annoying to the ears/brain for some reason; I just cannot play it through, and I skip a lot of tracks half way. So frustrating. There are even some volume changes between the tracks - they don't seem normalised or volume matched properly.

Sharon den Adel's vocal poke through here and there to at least recover some merit, especially on the absolutely beautiful track 'Edge of the World'. But there are too many guest vocals as well. Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage) is passable, but Tarja (ex Nightwish) and Xzibit - Really?

I will be seeing the band on tour shortly in the UK as I am such a big fan and supporter of them, since mother Earth (2000), but as a minimum they need someone else to record/mix/produce their next album. Good songs, lyrics, concepts, and lead vocals ruined by the way it has been thrown together.

Incidentally, I bought the double CD and booklet. It mirrors the album really, as there are some absolutely great photos of the band, but they are reproduced badly. All fuzzy black and white with poor definition. The extra four songs are worth a listen, but the four 'evolution' tracks you will only play once; they are just snippets of how tracks evolved. Strangely enough, the recoding quality/sharpness on these is better in places, which tells me someone got hold of these tracks and turned them into a muddy mess of sound afterwards!

It is so frustrating as there is a great album here waiting to burst out here, but it turns me off when I play it - It is not a good sound. With better mixing and a few changes here and there it would have been a five star album I am sure, but in this form it just does not hang together very well at all, and the sound quality makes it difficult to listen to. So sorry to say this.

Edit: I listened again tonight after listening to a few other albums first. It gets no better. Songs and vocals five stars - recording quality zero stars. I am actually going to post this back to BMG and ask them to send me a copy when they have re-recorded it properly! As N.A. Davies commented on my post, the album itself is great, but it sounds like it is being played off an old cassette - I couldn't put it better myself! How can this happen in this day and age? So disappointing.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world is watching..., 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Hydra (MP3 Download)
I've been on a Within Temptation rampage in the first few days. Not least because I've been downloading pretty much everything I own as MP3s. That meant all of Within Temptation's back catalog - it also meant I had the great honour of listening to everything they've ever done from the beginning. The journey has been immense and so has the wait for Hydra.

Hydra is the culmination of a journey that has taken over a decade to realise. We had a glimpse of Hydra back in the fall of 2013 with 'Paradise' - at a time when the album should have been released. The beauty of digital downloads is that when the release date ticks over into being active, you can get it straight away. It's been a long time coming but it's here now and I'm happy, really happy!

It's like the Within Temptation I always thought they we're have finally shown themselves, and they're not afraid to do exactly what is right for them. Whereas 'The Forgiving' may have been an album where they flexed their concept mainstream muscles, 'Hydra' deserves to finally propel them fully into the realm of being a household name.

The previous album could be forgiven for sounding a little samey but there's none of that here, instead we find a diverse mix of songs that should satisfy most fans and probably gain a few million more.

'Edge of the World' is a sweeping piece of music that makes you wanna raise your hands and shout out to the heavens - truly magnificent. The aforementioned 'Paradise' is a powerhouse of metal and operatic vocals with a chorus that sounds evidently plucked from the eighties, and there's nothing wrong with that!

'And We Run' is sure to divide fans and critics alike but I'm all for experimentation within music and let's face it - rock and rap have been hand in hand since Run DMC and Aerosmith and more recently JayZ with Linkin Park. Is it any surprise that Within Temptation, on their rise to superstardom, had enlisted the vocals of American rapper Xzibit? It's no surprise at all and although not the strongest song on the album, it is worthy of note for moving to break down barriers. It also will most likely gain them a new legion of fans from other genres.

'Covered By Roses' is a return to the days gone by, a power metal anthem that showcases their talent for creating catchy riffs with extremely mature vocals, a testament to the growth and desire of an amazing group.

If you've never heard Within Temptation before or you're a hardened fan like me, them you'll easily find something here to enjoy and take away from it. Far from forgetting their roots on their way to reaching a mainstream audience, they have created an album that feels like a showcase for everything they are good at.

One minor annoyance is the length, at less than 50mins it doesn't push the boat out, but then again, when every song is this good I can live with that. Now the final song, 'Whole World Is Watching' is a superb ending to a great album and it feels like a song in which they leave their calling card for the rest of the world to discover them... to discover and wonder what they've been missing for the past decade.

Hydra is a superb album, it feels like it has been a long time coming and the constant change in release dates didn't help - but it's here now and I'm glad it's as good as I wanted to be. Whatever you think of the group, there is no denying that they continue to push the boat out, to test new boundaries and to really find their place within the music world.

And in the end - they're just brilliant songs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to form!, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Hydra (Audio CD)
Excellent new album from the Dutch rockers and back to something more like their original sound after 'Unforgiven', with an amazing collaboration with Tarja Turunen on 'Paradise (What About Us)'. Well worth splashing out for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow what a superb WT forever, 6 April 2014
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Within Temptation not only being a great Symphony Metal band are my favourite have been for years this is a superb package Follow up to The Unforgiving, Has great songs and lyrics, Featuring Let Us Burn, And We Run, Paradise What About Us, Covered By Roses, Edge of The World, Tell Me Why, Silver Moonlight and Who World Is Watching, great album must have for metal fans only disappointing song for me is Dog Days though average its not terrible Sharon has great vocal range best in metal, and Robert grunts return for this album after ten years 9/10 enjoy keep rocking everybody.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sounds like a cheap old cassette recording, 13 Feb 2014
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great songs on this album.all the duets work well.big shame about the sound quality.a bit of a let down.seems rushed
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pass me the aspirin, 6 Feb 2014
By 
scarecrow (Doncaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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When you have a vocal range that is as powerful and extensive as Sharon's you don't need to use guest vocalists.
They certainly don't add anything to the album, in fact to be honest their inclusion comes across as a bit of a gimmick.

People who liked The Unforgiving will probably like Hydra as well, but anyone hoping for a return to the Mother Earth type material will be disappointed.

Once again I'm having to mark the album down due to the fact that it has been compressed to within an inch of it's life. People who download all their music probably won't care, but try playing the cd on a decent music system and the instruments all converge to produce one headache inducing cacophony.

If I were being unkind I would be inclined to sum up Hydra as The Unforgiving with guest singers and even worse compression.

Which is a great shame, because the actual songs themselves are up to their usual standard of brilliance.

An album that had the potential to be fantastic has, in my opinion, been spoilt by the use of ill-suited guest vocalists and massive compression, and if it wasn't for this I would have given it 5 stars easily.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hydra, a consolidation album, 4 Feb 2014
By 
N. A. Davies (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The core fanbase was created through the early gothic symphonic albums, culmulating in the glorious Black Symphony. The band altered course to a more commercial sound with Unforgiving that split some of the old fanbase but attracted even more. Whether that new fan base will stick around would always be down to the next release, so the band took their time to fashion Hydra.
To me it seems an attempt to appeal to some of the lost masses, so disillusioned by the Unforgiving, but trying to maintain the momentum caused by the last release. A tricky supposition for any band. So how did they get on?

In the main its a resounding success, but that does come with caveats. The darker more gothic sound is almost abandoned apart from the odd choral or orchestral flourish here and there. Those dissapointed with the commercial poppy sound of the last album will be greatly heartened by some aggressive furious pieces that hark back to the aggression of the first album, complete with growled backing vocals that offset the sweeter smoother voice of Sharon.

At 50 minutes its not the longest album but what it lacks in length it makes up in quality. From the brooding opener Let Us Burn though the experimental And We Run with Xhibit adding his rapping weight to a magestic chorus
Either side of those we have the tuneful heavy weights of Dangerous, a duet with Howard Jones and the jewel in the crown of the duets at least, Paradise - where Tarja and Sharon trade lines in the most traditional of the WT songs, a firm fan favourite before release, it appeases both old and young fans, a satisfying blend of chugging hard rock and uplifting vocals from the pair. Glorious stuff.

Away from that we see the band flexing some serious rock muscle, Silver Moonlight and Tell Me Why, toughening up the sound to impressive standards. What the new fans who fell in love with 'Sinead' will make of it, will be interesting to see. Especially in the the live setting. Even the ballads build with menace and power - Edge of the World starts off as a ballad that they seem to be able to churn out at will, not quite by numbers, but the safe ballad that feature on pretty much all the albums, before the beatiful chorus is gate crashed by heavy guitar!

Time will tell where this album fits within their legacy. WT have ridden out trends and times, are happy to explore their own motivations and seem to be pandering only to their will to do as they see fit, without pandering to a fan base. One gets the impression that if you like this album, they are pleased for you, but if you chose to leave them behind, they arnt going to lose sleep. That mindset is reserved for the higher echelon of bands, and WT are moving towards that - a cannon of music that has evolved with them, and with such ease and poise. A truly special band that came from one genre, defied it, and are now happy to exist on their terms. An enviable position indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent purchase for fans or newbies to this band, 13 April 2014
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Brilliant follow up to `The Unforgiven` but if you are expecting more of the same (as I was lol) then prepare to have your mind blown. This band goes from strength to strength and arent afraid to throw in the odd curve ball. Very fast delivery and the price guarantee is a nice touch.
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