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Hydrogyn - "Bombshell" (CD)

Hydrogyn - "Bombshell" CD cover image

"Bombshell" track listing:

1. Vesper's song
2. Blind
3. Look Away S.P.
4. Breaking Me Down
5. I've Been Waiting
6. Confusion
7. Love Spoke
8. Back in Black
9. The Sand
10. Whisper
11. Circle
12. Book of Names
13. Come Back to Me
14. Mutilated Mind

Reviewed by on June 4, 2007

"Hydrogen is here and they have been well worth the wait"

If you are a fan of good hard rock/metal, and you love female vocalists; if you have been looking for a band that can run the gamut between classic and 80's rock, nu-metal and heavy metal, and all things in between, then look no further. Hydrogen is hear and they have been well worth the wait. Formed in West Virginia in 2003, by guitarist Jeff Westlake, this rock tour de force, fortified with cutting edge riffs, and massive hooks is a force to be reckoned with. the first thing you will notice is the angelic voice of lead singer Julie. There is just something that has to be said for a woman that can preform in such a versatile setting and never appear out of place. Her voice is very sultry as displayed in the intro/outre to "Vesper's Song," yet powerful, as in the track "Breaking me down," reminding me of a cross between a young Joan Jett, and Cristina Scabia. Julie is not afraid to take chances vocally on a few tracks,and it is very refreshing to hear a singer who is not content with playing it safe with their melody lines and will take a leap of faith every once and awhile. Julie even stands strong and powerful with a cover of AC/DC's Back in Black adding soul and her own take on some of the melody lines, making the song truly her own. They say a mark of a great band is picking the right front man, or in this case front woman, and if that is the case, they should prepare for greatness.

The double guitar assault of founding member Jeff Westlake, and 2nd guitarist Chris Stewart, is a well balanced 6 string assault, playing every thing from riffs that could be on an unreleased Lacuna Coil album to a Kiss era rocker. Never overplaying, even though it is obvious from certain tracks, the ability is definitely there, opting in some songs to lay down purely emotional solos, in place of speed drills, and exotic scales.

The song writing is very emotional and at times personal feeling, as well as extremely versatile. The hooks bypass the cheesiness achieved by a lot of other bands in this genre, but at the same time retain that catchy singable appeal that other bands long to achieve, as displayed in the catchy 80's diddy "I've Been Waiting." Because of this, it became evident early into the disc that picking the album's hot spots would be very difficult, since every track in it's own way shined. One of the points that appeals to me most is that there is finally a band that is not afraid to put a love song on record, the one lost art form of the 80's that metal fans have not fully re-embraced, but was one of the cornerstones of that era. They embrace this long lost art form head on with great depth of emotions and solid lyrical content on the power balladish "Whisper." The best thing about this album is it sounds like it was written by a songwriter whereas a lot of female fronted bands sound as though the songs are written to focus on the fact that they have a female singer, the difference is Hydrogyn appears to focus on writing good songs, period.

Highs: Great song writing, complimented by catchy hooks

Lows: A couple of the songs could have used a slighy higher degree of fretboard pyrotechnics

Bottom line: Hydrogen's "Bombshell" is a well rounded, precisely constructed, hook laden metal machine, that is well worth a listen

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)