Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.
11/30/2007 - Review by: Etiam
Satariel - Hydra - 2005 - Regain Records

Track Listing
1. Freedom Fall, The
2. Be You Angel, Be You Beast
3. Claw The Clouds
4. Vengeance Is Hers
5. For Galaxies To Clash
6. Springrise, The
7. Scattering The Timeweb
8. 300 Years Old
9. Nihil Juggernaut
10. No God Loves
Press material for a band always endeavors to open with the most compelling, high-profile information possible, in hopes of making that memorable first impression or to spark new interest. Satariel's hook, however, is seriously outmoded, stilly relying on the their last album 'Phobos & Deimos' (2001), when they collaborated with Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass). What's more, the Mssiah was featured only as a guest on that album and he doesn't reappear on this new one at all. Considering that Satariel's press corps haven't come up with a more impressive intro in the interim, one would logically assume that there isn't much here to promote. This would be an unfortunate conclusion, though, since Satariel are a respectable and talented group who are simply selling themselves short.

With the flood of bands still treading water in the melodic death metal scene today it is no surprise that good bands are continually overlooked, but one still wonders why Satariel had to draw the short straw. The production of 'Hydra' is balanced (minus the harsh hi-hat), the band's musicianship of high caliber, and the vocals professionally diverse, spanning clean, blackened, and growled. Satariel do admittedly follow the harsh verse/clean chorus formula institutionalized by their predecessors in the Swedish field, but the appropriately titled 'Hydra' draws on enough disparate genre elements to remain consistently appealing. Of course, manifold genres are far from the only ingredients for success; it takes keen songwriting to whisk them cleanly together. Fortunately, this is a tool Satariel wield with skill, and throughout 'Hydra' they base their appeal on familiar sensibilities and then add in a dash of original twists as a final garnish.

It seems that Satariel's primary shortcoming is nothing more than a case of improper marketing, which promotes them as 'melodic black/death'. Aside from the occasional rasp to Pär's harsh vocals, the 'black' aspect of their genre tag is a total misnomer. Anyone expecting black metal of any sort, symphonic, melodic or otherwise, will no doubt come away from 'Hydra' disappointed by its extensive use of clean, gothic-styled vocals and 'melodeath' polish. Too, on the other hand, fans looking for that more consistent gothic experience will balk at the aggressive riffing and vocals that belie Pär's and Mikael's involvement in Torchbearer.

Otherwise, while still an overall success 'Hydra's patchwork of styles does falter a time or two. The atmospheric poise opening 'Vengeance is Hers' grates with the explicit, childish lyrics, and 'Scattering The Timeweb' indulges a little too lengthily in its own gloominess. Nevertheless, despite these few flaws Satariel's efforts pay off when the headbanging hooks of 'Nihil Juggernaut' blend into subtle pop cadences of 'No God Loves' and the potential derailment of 'Vengeance Is Hers' is set aright by the brutal, nearly two-stepping groove of 'For Galaxies To Crash'.

Satariel do walk a fine line between fanbases that rarely coincide, but perhaps by their next full-length (presumably following 2006's EP 'Chifra') the band will have instilled in their audience a clearer sense of their identity. Judging by 'Hydra's quality and the talents of the members, this is a feasible goal. And by that time, maybe they'll be confident enough to leave Messiah well enough alone.

Rating: 3.5

--Etiam 11.17.07
    3.5 :AVE RATING



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