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Dying Hydra – Of Lowly Origin

Dying Hydra
Of Lowly Origin
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 28 January 2022, 6:08 AM

DYING HYDRA is an atmospheric sludge/doom band from Denmark. “Of Lowly Origin,” is their debut full length but they released an EP in 2018. This band is a three piece but they sound like a planet full of hell beasts bent on your destruction: unrelenting and massive.  Seriously, this album is thick as peanut butter and heavy as anvil.  If I said they sound like a mix between CROWBAR and CULT OF LUNA, that would give a decent idea of their sound.  Also, isn’t that one hell of a compliment? The good news it that not only are they heavy but they are atmospheric and have a propensity to be melodic.  When these elements are thrown into the mix, I even get huge post vibes.  As such, “Of Lowly Origin” is an album that will take you to places while it is caving in your body.

The production is deep—it sounds nearly bottomless and it allows their sound to just swell up inside the brain.  I usually write reviews while listening to the album in question with my headphones—this is an album that needs to be played loud but I would argue it also needs headphones.  It has a lot of space to fill up and when the notes just force themselves into your ear holes, it is a magical experience. “Earliest Root,” is the opening track and a prime example of what the album is about.  The beginning moments are clean melody, deep bass tones, and atmospheric drumming.  For over a minute, the song builds up and the anticipation is nearly palpable. When the riffs kick in and the distortion pedal is stomped, all goes right with the world even as it descends into chaos.  The riffs aren’t just swamp water thick but they have groove—-this song, and the album as a whole, will make your head bang non stop. The vocals are that growl that rests between death metal and a rough clean—perfect for this style and intelligible as they are gritty.  This song is over seven minutes but never feels like because everything is where it needs to be and it uses every second. By the time the song is at the halfway point, the riffs are hypnotizing but the drums crash through so the music is always grounded even when it is spacey.

Unlit,” is the shortest song on the album but also the most direct.  The military precision of the drums are at once striking and compliment the rolling riffs.   The bass pulsates with indirect anger—the bass is restrained yet intense.  I love it.  A slow groove quickly settles in and even though the waters are rough, the pacing is smooth.  The last moments of the song are more bass and drum oriented with the guitars dancing around them.  As good as the first two tracks are, the album really begins to open up at “Rootborn.”  On this song, the band comes into their own and what isn’t being played is just as important as what is.  The space between is another instrument.  Metallic moments are mixed with the sludge, expanding their song over wide chasms.  The song’s two minute long build up shows the album becoming more and more methodical.  And why not?  Sludge/Doom, whatever you want to call it, can be as methodical as it wants.  The almighty riff and the fuzz of the bass is ever important but I want depth too—and this song gives it to me. The middle movement of the song is spacey and psychedelic, handling with deft precision so that it enhances their sound without making it too far out.

Species Adrift,” is a heavy song but it is incredibly atmospheric.  This one is more about the overall mood and feel rather than focusing on any one instrument or style. The drums are extra impressive and I’m blown away by how important they are to the song—Tejs appears to be a very musical drummer and knows what these songs need and when they need them.  From 3:03 to 6:04, the song alternates between clean instrumentation and more crushing movements.  These three minutes definitely give the impression of some slithering creature moving throughout the land.  A…wait for it..Hydra, perhaps?  Ok, I’ll stop.

I feel as if “Ashed Eyes,” and “Undergrowth,” go together.  Considering the former ends as the later begins, maybe it was on purpose these tracks compliment each other well.  The tone and music is similar on each track but they also different.  “Ashes Eyes,” is direct and guitar oriented where as the longer “Undergrowth,” is more expansive and, much like its title, has a lot beneath the service just waiting to be discovered. The final track is, “Cry Of The Colossus,” and what an ending it is!  The drums and guitar gather momentum and add layers as they push forward.  When it all comes together, a stark riff and slower tempo drives the song.  Listening to this is like driving down the road and looking out the window, seeing everything in your field of vision  just as it passes.   But you must focus at some point, as does the song, around the 3:20 mark with an encompassing riff that lets the song grow naturally from that point, breaking it down and rebuilding it to greater heights.

DYING HYDRA’sOf Lowly Origin,” is a striking debut full length album that will appeal to anyone in the doom/sludge scene but it it offers an imaginative romp to anyone willing to invest the time.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Earliest Root
2. Unlit
3. Rootborn
4. Species Adrift
5. Ashed Eyes
6. Undergrowth
7. Cry Of The Colossus
Lineup:
Tejs Kyhl - Drums
Lars Pontoppidan - Guitars, Vocals
Patrick Fragtrup - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Black Grain Records
     


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