Hydrogyn: Judgement

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They say to never judge a book by its cover. In rock’n’roll terms, one should also never rate an album by its opening track.

This, the fifth album from Kentucky melodic rockers Hydrogyn, begins with the godawful Lost Reality. With its down-toned guitars and clattering rhythm, it sounds like a rusty dustcart rattling outside your house at 6am in the morning. Thankfully, things quickly get better. Substantially so.

With the legendary Michael Wagener at the production helm, Hydrogyn renounce their inert status and hit their slinky AOR stride with second track, Right Thing Now. They never look back from there, frontgal Julie Westlake crooning seductively over a bunch of breathless originals (sleazy bonus track Medicate being, bizarrely, the pick of the bunch).

There are a brace of heavy-grooving cover versions too: Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman sounds suitably spectacular and MSG’s Assault Attack is, if anything, better than the original.

Now signed to French label Bad Reputation, you gotta laugh at the press release claim that “Judgement will leave you weak at the knees with its femme-fatale metal”. That is, until your legs buckle and you end up face- down on the floor.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.