Sunday, February 2, 2014

Within Temptation - Hydra (2014)

It is without a doubt that the Dutch band Within Temptation is one of the most successful and most influential bands in the symphonic metal scene. Since the start in 1996, the band has gained huge recognition for its symphonic sound and the excellent singing styles of Sharon Den Adel. "Hydra" is the band's 6th album (7th if you include the cover album "The Q-music sessions", which I do not) and this record would answer my question if this band still has what it takes to be one of the front runners in the symphonic metal scene or if they are has-beens.

The most notable thing is the four guest artists that all comes from different corners in the music industry. We have the opera singer and former Nightwish member Tarja Turunen in "Paradise (What About Us?)", the former Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones in "Dangerous" and the Soul Asylum singer Dave Pirner in "Whole World Is Watching". But the one guest artist that probably raises the most eyebrows is the rapper and former Pimp My Ride host X to da Z Xzibit. He makes an appearance in "And We Run". The song itself is quite neat and Xzibit does not make an ass out of himself, but it is still one of the low points of "Hydra". The rest of the songs that has a guest in it are pretty nice, especially "Dangerous" that impresses with its speed and determination. Definitely the most addictive song in "Hydra".

The rest of the songs? Well, it is no doubt that it is Within Temptation songs. It is symphonic mainstream rock with very few surprises. The only really impressive piece is "Silver Moonlight" that feels like a groovy Nightwish song that is both catchy and heavy. It is otherwise a boring song line-up that the band has put out on "Hydra". I know that this band is better than this, so why does it seems like they are not even trying? Are they too comfortable with their current sound or are they just out of fresh ideas? I definitely feel like "Hydra" would have been better if the band had put some more power in the music so that it would not sound so average. This is a shame since I know how good these musicians really are.

"Hydra" is not an improvement from its predecessor "The Unforgiving", but it is not a big step back for the band. There are glimpses of awesomeness here and there, but it certainly feels like Within Temptation would do good with a make over. They are getting some what predictable with their sound, even with the guest artists, so I would not mind if they took things in another direction. Their current sound is boring, but it will more than likely please most of their fans (for now).

Songs worthy of recognition: Dangerous, Paradise (What About Us?), Silver Moonlight

Rating: 5,5/10 Dog Days

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