The album gets off to a strong start with Let Us Burn. It is very similar to the material found on The Unforgiving which is why it works very well as an album opener. The chorus is very memorable and den Adel's voice really soars during it. She might not have the most unique or original voice out there, but there is no doubting her power or the conviction in her delivery. The orchestrations are subtle and do not overpower the simple melodies, and overall it all just comes together nicely. The song even features a short guitar solo from Ruud Jolie which is something not often used by the band. Dangerous is probably the album's best song for me and is one case where the guest vocalist really brought something to the song. Howard Jones (Blood Has Been Shed; Killswitch Engage; Devil You Know) uses his smooth clean vocals to duet well with den Adel and the guitars lock in well with Martijn Spierenburg's keyboards to create a memorable riff and Coolen's simple double-bass drumming keeps the song steaming along. It has another very strong chorus that uses the best of both voices. I would have liked to see Jones use the harsher side of his voice somewhere in the song though, as I think that would have been awesome. And We Run is an interesting song but I am not 100% sure if it quite works. Rapper Xzibit lends his talents to the song, and his sections are good, but it does seem a little jarring. It is not a disaster however, which let's face it, it could have easily been! I am not sure what this is trying to achieve though, as I cannot imagine many Xzibit fans being converted to being Within Temptation fans on the strength of this song. It is the during the next song however that the wheels start to come off though. Paradise (What About Us?) is a pretty twee song that features Tarja Turunen (Nightwish) that really does not make use of her excellent voice. This song just stinks of the band pandering to the section of their fanbase that did not like the shift away from symphonic metal. The video was released long before the album was released in a clear attempt to get those fans back on board before the album was finished. The song is average at best, but the seeming cynicism that surrounds it is hard to take. The mediocrity carries on into Edge of the World which is a pretty dreary ballad that never really gets going. I do like the way that den Adel sings it however, using lots of good high notes, but overall the song falls flat.
Silver Moonlight sees things pick up a bit. It moves back to the riff-based sound of the album's first two songs and picks up a bit of metal credibility after the last two. Westerholt's harsh vocals, not really heard since their 1997 debut Enter, make a return in the chorus of this song which is an unexpected surprise and they fit with the rocking guitars and the gothic orchestrations. It is probably the heaviest song that they have written in a long time, and Jolie's fluid guitar solo works well. However, the up-turn only lasts a single song before Covered by Roses comes along and spoils it somewhat. The bland chorus and 'woah woahs' by den Adel are not very exciting at all and seem to be another attempt to appeal to the pop community. The short spoken word section really does sound like something from an early Nightwish album and does not really fit in with the rest of the song. Dog Days is not much better, and keeps well within the 'average' category. It plods along again without really ever getting going but has very little emotional hooks or amazing musical moments to make up for it. It is an unremarkable song that will appeal to those are like their music safe and dull, which for all I know is what the band were aiming for in attempt to further widen their fanbase. The album's final two songs do improve on the general poor quality of the previous couple however and ensure that the album ends on a relative high note. Tell Me Why has another decent riff but it is the chorus that is it's real strong point. It is similar to Let Us Burn's one in a way, but it still feels good and den Adel does what she does best, belting out a good tune. The rhythms are much more traditionally metal too, which gives the song a heavier feel and it keeps a good pace throughout. The album comes to an end with Whole World is Watching which is a good ballad that features Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) dueting with den Adel. He has a good voice and they work together on what is a pretty laid back number. The chorus is very strong, with Pirner actually out singing den Adel in places which is nice to see. Overall, the album ends strongly and helps to slightly wipe away the mediocrity of some of the songs here. It is full of too many unremarkable moments to ever really be considered anything other than 'good' but some of the songs here are very enjoyable. It is just a shame that the rest were as dreary as they were as there was potential in some of them and Hydra could have been a great album.
The album was released on 3rd February 2014 via WT Recordings/Dramatico Entertainment. Below is the band's prmotional video for Dangerous.