HYDRA – Solar Empire (2016)
“Solar Empire” is the second album (released today) from Germans HYDRA, a female-fronted band which musically is as versatile as the mythological monster with many snakeheads they take their name from.
HYDRA are influenced by many different rock styles such as melodic metal, power metal and progressive metal with sympho touch.
As the opposite to the majority of bands from the current scene amalgamating these genres the focus here is not a classically trained voice. Instead, front lady Lisa Rieger integrates her clean pipes into the musical tapestry with a traditional metal feel, giving the band its characteristic enchanting melodies.
Musically, Hydra is driven by deliberate contrasts: strong heavy riffs meets soft, ethereal arrangements evocative of fairy tales recalling traditional metal.
There’s a concept on “Solar Empire”, a story about a loving couple. The female protagonist ‘Lanya’ is living in a world called ‘Lunar’, while the male protagonist ‘Am’ran’ is an inhabitant on ‘Solys’, but their love is not tolerated. Yes, “Solar Empire” tells the classic story of a forbidden love.
But you can enjoy each track individually, and there’s a lot of variety to enjoy here.
You have from a symphonic / melodic metal stomp in ‘Towards The End’ coupled with choral backdrops, to an aerial soft number in ‘Crystalline Cage’, indeed adorned by crystal clear orchestrations, flutes, bagpipes and sweet vocals.
In the middle, we find more bouncy titles such as ‘Days Of Thunder’ with its catchy rhythm and some hard rock structures, then let’s not forget the symphonic 7+ minute epic ‘Horns Of Erakor’ featuring guest vocals by Henning Basse (Firewind / Epysode), a real belter.
Everything in “Solar Empire” ticks the right boxes for a successful melodic metal + light power / progressive metal effort, blending classic with modern arrangements regarding these genres.
Lisa Rieger owns a powerful clean register turning quite sweet when needed, helped in duets by Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus In Musica) and Jule Dahs (Ex- Skadika) on a couple of tracks for even more variation.
Instrumentation is tight and arranged to detail, benefited by a pristine production.
Solid record from this very interesting German act.
01 – Scarlet Occident
02 – Between Two Worlds
03 – Memorial
04 – Witness of Arbitrament (feat. Jule Dahs)
05 – Towards The End
06 – Crystalline Cage
07 – Days of Thunder
08 – Assassin’s Scent
09 – Horns of Era’Kor (feat. Henning Basse)
10 – Doomed
11 – The Last Swan (feat. Zuberoa Aznarez)
Lisa Rieger – Vocals
Chris Diefenbach – Guitar
Clemens Birkenmaier – Bass
Jens Viertel – Drums
guest vocals by:
Henning Basse (Firewind / Epysode)
Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus In Musica)
Jule Dahs (Ex- Skadika)
Laurentius Singers – Choir
guest instrumental performances:
Ally Storch (Ally The Fiddle) – Violin / Viola
Nadine Mittmann (Conspiria) – Harp
Michele Gasparri (Vexillum) – Bagpipe
Dominik Unhold – Flutes
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