The Hydra, being a multi-headed creature from Greek mythology, is used here as a metaphor for musical influence and, as a title shows this album holds more than just another collection of run of the mill, female fronted Gothic tinged metal. Opening track “Let It Burn” does get things under way with a fairly standard effort, but consider it as a warm up. It’s unyielding and dramatic with strong vocals from Sharon Den Adel, textbook stuff really.
Track two is where the album starts to get a little more interesting, with the first of FOUR collaborations recorded for the album. “Dangerous” features one Howard Jones, formerly of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, who himself has an impressive set of lungs. Despite both being renowned for their powerful vocal displays, they compliment each other very well over an up-tempo, bombastic rock track, without anything sounding over bearing.
“And We Run” throws a curve ball into the mix, with a guest appearance from American rapper XZIBIT (no one saw THAT coming), but it does work impressively well! For the best part it’s a steadier number, more of a ballad at Its core despite retaining an intense almost orchestral feel. It’s still a huge sounding track, with Xzibit giving not only the song but the genre itself a swift injection of character and new life.
The leading single, “Paradise (What About Us?)” is in many ways the result of forming what is essentially a super group of symphonic metal. You've got Within Temptation AND none other than Tarja Turunen, the original vocalist from Nightwish. Together they deliver an operatic vocal master class, ticking all of the boxes required and showing the world how it’s done. A genre defining anthem if ever there was one.
Elsewhere, “Edge Of The World” and “Dog Days” keep the album ticking along, while “Covered By Roses” and “Tell Me Why” maintain the albums edgier appeal, with some great guitar driven sections, before we finish on the albums final collaboration. Dave Pirner, from SOUL ASYLUM joins Den Adel on the mic for “Whole World Is Watching”, and although it’s a sweet song, ending things on a somewhat soft note, it can’t help but come across as a little bit weak, and dare I say it, very Eurovision in style. It also ends very abruptly too, leaving you with a feeling of, “oh?” as oppose to giving you real closure. Despite the disappointing ending, “Hydra” is a good album and has just enough originality to help it stand out. Like the creature it was named after, this album had many heads itself, with the band utilizing some interesting but effective collaborations. Good job they didn't find influence in the Greek god Moros instead then really... 
Download: "Dangerous", "And We Run" and "Paradise (What About Us?)"
"Hydra" Is Available On iTunes For £7.99 - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hydra/id773523916
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