Satariel Hydra

A many-headed beast, as its title suggests, Satariel’s third record frequently shifts direction, making it difficult to classify. Melodic Swedish metal seems, at times, to form its core, with hints of black and death that throw Hydra somewhere between recent recordings by Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, Naglfar and Old Man’s Child. With a female-sung electro/acoustic ballad (revisited later with male vocals and a slightly different arrangement) the record skids off the metal track, then moves into an equally unexpected prog/punk groove mixed with goth rock. Melody persists as a dominant element, through more thrash-y and blackened sections as well as more goth and some old-fashioned hard rock. Satariel’s latest is difficult to get into and even harder to stay focused on, and while it has its compelling moments, it seems more a multi-artist compilation than a coherent album. (Candlelight USA)