Within Temptation – Hydra

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Released: 31.01.2014 NL

I honestly think that the sixth studio album of the Dutch Gothic Metal band Within Temptation belongs to one of the most anticipated albums for this year.
The follower to the 2011 concept album  “The Unforgiving” was released by the end of January and what do we think about “Hydra”? This review will tell you.
First of all, I gotta say that Within Temptation got focused on collaborations on “Hydra” since 4 out of 10 songs you’ll find on the standard version of the album feature a guest appearance. Well, you decide if it’s good or bad.
The first track you’ll hear on “Hydra” is called “Let Us Burn” and is actually everything we were used to hear from this band. This song is strongly reminding me of the “The Unforgiving” era with its vibe. And what would Within Temptation be without the powerful vocals of the frontwoman Sharon den Adel?

The second song and also the second single “Dangerous” already features Howard Jones, best known as the former vocalist of Killswitch Engage.
Meanwhile you still got that classic Within Temptation sound on “Let Us Burn”, “Dangerous” is something rather new. Well, “Dangerous” is definitely a grower for me just as the next song entitled “And We Run”.

And We Run” would be a very good piece if one would cut the US-American rapper Xzibit out. I personally have nothing against Crossover cause that’s how the song sounds, but the rapping makes it actually more fit for the charts and one doesn’t know if he should be impressed by this experiment or not.
In any case, in the first single “Paradise (What About Us?)” you can hear strong symphonic elements, resembling the past work of Within Temptation. And who else could feature on this track than Tarja Turunen?
Ok, I guess this song might be the catchiest one on “Hydra”. And the collaboration between those two Metal ladies was an epic win – or so many fans say… Well, I think Sharon could pull this one off also without Tarja and no, I’m not saying that because I’m not the biggest Tarja-fan.
It’s a good promo indeed.

Anyways, with “Edge Of The World” you’ll get to the middle of the album. It kinda starts in a way that makes you wonder if you’ll hear another experiment but in the end you’ll hear a nice ballad. The instrumentalisation is kinda exciting in any way.
Silver Moonlight” comes up next with Sharon’s angelic vocals, but it takes a heavier twist. Surprise, surprise! Or not?
In this track you’ll also hear some growling by Robert Westerholt making it even more epic. I might suggest this track to be one of the must-hear-tracks off “Hydra”.

Then we have “Covered By Roses” that belongs to this epic middle part of the album. Is it me or do the vocal lines in the beginning sound a bit like the chorus of “Silver Moonlight”? Well, this one has some fresh new energy in it. That’s already good.
Dog Days” starts out pretty delicately and evolves into a powerful ballad and I can say that this is one of my most favorite tracks on the album.
“1, 2, 3, 4, what are you waiting for?”
But then we move on from a ballad to another good piece entitled “Tell Me Why”. I just don’t hear anything much ground breaking about this one.

The last track on the standard edition is called “Whole World Is Watching” together with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum fame.
It’s a good ending for this album. Nothing that would actually toss you down from your chair, but still solid and powerful on its own way but the cut ending was just a pure disappointment.

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In my opinion, “Hydra” is something like “The Unforgiving II” but weaker. It has its ups and downs and the excessive featuring thing isn’t much what I like to see on Metal albums. I’m not disappointed but not even mindblown. If you forget this, “Hydra” is a solid piece, but definitely a grower… Or only for hardcore Within Temptation fans…

Truth is, after a few listens this album gets boring as fuck and this is not the thing I look for in an album. The songwriting is rather uninspired when you compare it to the band’s earlier albums and thus, 5 out of 10 points is an acceptable rating here.

Personal favorites:

  • Let Us Burn
  • Silver Moonlight
  • Dog Days

Rating:
5/10

Take a Listen: 

Written by Misha Nyman – January 2014, edited July 2014

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