3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Hydra, a consolidation album,
This review is from: Hydra [Double Cd + Media Book (100 Page Booklet)] (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Feb 2014 11:35:35 GMT
James g says:
Great review,i also loved all their early albums but felt they had lost their sound and sold out too much to Radio friendly land on their Unforgiven album,so it is good to hear they have not forgotten what made them great in the first place?,will still wait till this new album is cheaper Unforgiven was really bad.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Feb 2014 00:36:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2014 00:36:29 GMT
N. A. Davies says:
Listen to the streams or YouTube you may like it. My partner DOESN'T like this new album, but liked Unforgiving but didn't get the early stuff.
Posted on 11 Mar 2014 14:37:46 GMT
Hi there, I beleive it was you who said the production on Hydra was a mess, I have a 'State-of-the-art' sound system at home (the best money can buy) so every time I ALWAYS hear the PERFECT version of any album that I listen to and to my ears 'HYDRA 'sounds..................IMPRESSIVE! Sorry mate but I can only speak s I find.
In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2014 06:19:31 BDT
N. A. Davies says:
Yes it was me who said I didn't like the mix.
Glad you have the money for the best money can buy set up. If you want to donate me some cash, so I can listen to Hydra the way it should be I'm all ears though, and send the cheque co of PO Box 776.....lol...
Seriously though, the sound just sounds so 'tight' through my set up - I listened to a song from this and then played a 100cc song back from 76, then another from Hydra, and then one from Kate Bush's first album (78) and the older stuff just sounds so more 'seperated' a huge soundscape, where as Hydra, admittedly LOUDER just sounds a compressed mess. Just my opinion though. I paid 270 quid for a pair of Senheisser Momentum headphones (pretty cool by the way) and the same mushy sound prevails, so its not my room acoustics.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2014 20:04:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2014 20:07:02 BDT
James g says:
Thanks N.A,sounds good to me and back with a bit more of the old sound,just waiting for it in the post,i still have Black Symphony to listen to on repeat till it turns up lol,i do not think that will ever stop blowing my socks off!.
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