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Within Temptation - 'Hydra' http://mail.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/02/66/2c/within-temptation-hydra-46-1394050005.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 05, 2014    
 
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The best Within Temptation album yet.

Usually when one of the big Female Fronted bands releases a new album, I'm as jubilant as a lower league football fan whose club's been bought by a wealthy sheik. But despite being a massive enthusiast, I had a feeling of trepidation right up to the first spin of Within Temptation's 'Hydra' due to the discussions of a change in style that made the merest mention of "Hip-Hop". I couldn't help but think "oh dear what the frak have they done?"

The simple answer is to release the album that I hoped for and not the album that I feared... and what an album it is! Although WT continues to explore and incorporate different influences as they've always done, it doesn't feel quite as prominent a change as was the case with 'The Unforgiving'; yes there are still new inclusions but it's all wrapped up with WT's own unique sound.

In fact the tracks on 'Hydra' are all so fantastic it's tough to know which ones to single out, this even extends to the song that caused all the consternation. 'And We Run' may feature Hip-Hop star Xzibit, but don't make the same assumption I did that WT have decided to whole heartedly change their sound. The song is built upon a gorgeous chugging riff and piano foundation with Sharon Den Adel's soaring vocals. Xzibit appears in the chorus and his Rap styled delivery works really well when combined with Den Adel's angelic wails.

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Another song to include guest vocals is 'Dangerous' with its thumping rhythm section and techno styled synth as well as Den Adel being joined on vocals by Howard Jones (ex - Killswitch Engage). It will come as no surprise that given 'Paradise (What About Us?)' includes another female singer I adore in Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish) that it's my overall favourite. 'Paradise...' is full of superb vocals, rich synth, a riff that's deeper than Roman Abramovich's wallet and a chorus that will be in your head for months.

This is all before you get to the slower paced 'Dog Days' and the beautiful ballads 'Edge Of The World' and 'Whole World Is Watching' which are overflowing with Den Adel's outstanding vocals, with the latter being a duet with Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum). There's also 'Silver Moonlight' where parts of the axe work reminded me a little of 'Over The Hills...' but pumped up on steroids and it also sees the return of imposing death growls from Robert Westerholt.

To me 'Hydra' is simply marvellous and the best Within Temptation album yet. Not only is this a contender for my 2014 top ten but an early entrant for record of the year. Despite my early reservations, I don't have a single grip about this stellar release; it's an album that's full of magnificent vocals, seriously infectious choruses, and excellent musicianship that includes some thumping axe work with more guts than a sumo wrestling academy. The only advice I can give for this amazing record is to purchase... sit back... and enjoy.

Dave Scott

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