Well, who would have thought that! From great beginnings, starting with Enter right up to The Heart of Everything, we have seen superb work from Within Temptation. Yet, somehow their performance started to decline with the The Unforgiving. And unfortunately their 2014 record Hydra did not stop this decline.
Their tune is not necessarily bad, but nothing that really rocked me out of my chair. It is as if they descended into the mean mainstream, where the ratings dwell. Couple this with a glittery on-stage performance. And there, you have your venue covered. Right? And I daresay, Within Temptation got their marketing strategy straight for sure.
Hydra starts with a fair (not more) Let Us Burn. But then immediately featuring guest singers of no real value, really culminating in the ill-fated trial with Tarja Turunen, who’s voice is really not put to value in her part in Paradise (What about us?). Not sure why she even bothered with this. But after all she is still looking for her part in the music fame game after she got thrown out of Nightwish quite some years ago.
All in all Hydra is no satisfactory experience.
The record somehow gorges with club-tailored, almost cinematic pieces that seem ready to be inserted into some pseudo fantasy clip or movie. A thing that presents itself in a pristine white robe with lots of rosy sub-colors in it. Yet, it isn’t so, far from it.
Within Temptation also somehow checked their former creativity in at the door and took comfort in guest performances to a degree not seen before. Gone are the stellar times of The Silent Force. And all that in polished, bite-sized pieces of politically correct flow-shaped sounds made for the vile mainstream.
This is a real pity, as I really liked their quirky way of leading through their very varied former records. But in truth, this downward spiral already started with The Unforgiving.
I would not rate Hydra above four stars anywhere. It is just not getting me juiced up enough to be excited.
[Editorial note: The review made it successfully onto the first ever Intermittent Best Of of the RockmusicRaider blog. Congrats!]