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Electric Hydra - Electric Hydra Award winner

Electric Hydra
Electric Hydra
by Mark Machlay at 27 October 2020, 6:52 AM

The great country of Sweden seems to pump out rock and metal acts by the boatload and even has a track record producing of a higher percentage of ear-catching and popular acts than many other countries. ELECTRIC HYDRA hails from the windswept west coast and dark forests of Smaland, Sweden and has made quite a quaking introduction to the hard rock world. They were formed in late 2017 after a night on the town in which the founding members Sanne Karlsson on vocals, Ellinor Andersson on bass, Jonathan Moller on guitar, and Jonny Petterson on drums formed a kinship based on the heavy tones of BLACK SABBATH, ENTOMBED, FU MANCHU, and KYUSS. Mainly focusing on live shows for their first year, they did manage to release their first single “World Domination” and being known for their punk-infused stoner-doom style among the heavy underground scene. Two new singles came along in 2019 titled “The Burden” and “The Last of Us” while continuing to further their live act with smaller venues and festivals such as the Sweden Rock Festival, Malmofestivalen, and SWR Barroselas Metalfest. By Autumn of that year, headway was made on pre-production for a future full-length when Petterson left the band, being replaced by Dennis Ahman of ODCULT. By 2020, recording for their debut had begun and even continued into the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, upon finishing the album Moller left to focus on other things Jonas Stalhammer had already contributed much during the recording process and joined on guitar followed by Peter Soderberg of Capricorn resulting in dual guitars going forward.

The 10 songs released on ELECTRIC HYDRA’s self-titled debut pull no punches and leave no frills - clocking in at a short 35 minutes and the majority of the tracks being under three and a half minutes – they get straight to the point with nothing fancy. In vocalist Sanne Karlsson’s own words, “the album is expansive and heavy but still raw with a lot of energy. It feels like a step in the right direction to where we want to go with the music.” Starting off with lead single “It Comes Alive” they hit fast with a punk/thrash speed number with a lot FU MANCHU-like mannerisms. An initial impression of Karlsson’s unique voice immediately reminded me of the Japanese pop punk band PUFFY AMIYUMI in her delivery but she has so much more to offer later on. They get a bit more mid-tempo stoner rock with “Won’t Go To War (With Myself)” and “Blackest Eyes” with the latter nodding toward MOTORHEAD in the main riff. But they also have some slower, sludger, doomy songs with “Grab What’s Yours” reminding me of EARLY MAN’s riffier songs, and the pair of “Iron Lung” and “The Betrayer” sounding like early BLACK SABBATH but with much dirtier production.

Their aggressive stoner aesthetic but with a punkish feel is not entirely a new soundscape but the addition of a female vocalist with a very clear variety of musical influences that lean toward heavier and more extreme metal subgenres makes them an uncanny band. The sound is very dirty, given to a more biker/stoner quality and is only enhanced by enormous John Bonhom drum sound with a very washy cymbal decay that bathes the production in highs. Karlsson’s voice as well is very transformative and after the first song, she threw me for a loop and did not stick to the punkier style throughout and varied her vocal delivery depending on the song, at times quiet and pleasant while others having more grit and depth that could easily be confused for a male voice. This may be the band’s full-length debut but they deliver the sound of a band that has worked through their kinks, found their strengths and played to them. Hopefully, the next time they record they won’t have the difficulty of dealing with a global pandemic and member shakeups. My meaning is, if this is what a band creates after having to deal with trouble halfway, imagine what they create without it.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. It Comes Alive
2. Won’t Go To War (With Myself)
3. Blackened Eyes
4. Grab What’s Yours
5. Iron Lungs
6. The Betrayal
7. 1000 Lies
8. End Of Days
9. Rebel
10. Rise From Below
Sanne Karlsson – Vocals
Ellinor Andersson – Bass
Dennis Ahman – Drums
Jonas Stalhammar – Guitar
Peter Soderberg – Guitar
Record Label: Majestic Mountains Records


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