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Beheading the Medusa - 80%

Mors_Gloria, December 17th, 2007

Hydra is a band formed in the mid 90's by Xanthopoulos in Stockholm. Due to the nationality of Xanthopoulos Hydra's lyrics deal with Greek mythology and their logo contains the Vergina Sun, symbol of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia. The band had also views on doing a split with Unholy Archangel, a well-known black / death / thrash band from Greece.

So by those info I had about Hydra, I was expecting three things:

1) Black / death metal in the vein of Obsecration and Nordor (probably Greece's finer death metal acts) that can be compared to Incantation and the likes. That wasn't the case with Hydra.

2) Atmospheric death / black metal in the vein of Septic Flesh and Horrified. That wasn't the case either.

3) Furious black / death / thrash in the vein of Unholy Archangel that can be compared to the Australian black / thrash scene and bands like Destroyer 666 and the like. No surprise that wasn't the case either.

So, how Hydra really sound? They sound exactly how you'd expect a Swedish black / death metal band. They are melodic, synthless and catchy. Despite having their roots heavily into melodic death metal their sound does not remind of a Gothenburg band. They remind of Sacramentum, Dissection and even Amon Amarth in some parts (especially in their choruses which are catchy and sing along).

The guitars in this demo draw their main influence from black metal and as someone could expect tremolo picked riffs are dominant in this release. The melodies evoked from this riff are very atmospheric (even haunting in the middle break of Homage To A Horned God, Pan) and catchy at times (especially at the chorus of Head Of Medusa).

The bass is actually audible and you can hear some pretty good fills. The drumming mostly follows the guitars without being boring. The vocals head more towards death metal but they fit the music.

The general output of this demo is very enjoyable. The music is good and catchy. I'd like some solos in it but that's just asking for too much. A minus point is the duration of it. It is only 11: 36 minutes long. It surely leaves you wanting more.

If you like the Swedish extreme metal sound (black or death) you're going to like this demo. If you cannot find this anywhere just download it from their side. It's a worthy attempt and I am waiting to see great things from Hydra.