Hydrogyn - Deadly Passions
Female Fronted American Rock
10 songs (45:00)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Pete

I remember a friend of mine giving me Hydrogyn's debut album Bombshell with the words, "If you like Benedictum then check this out". I'm still suffering from the mental scars of that album because it was one of the worst heaps of shit it's ever been my misfortune to endure. It was as painful and dreary to listen to as it was embarrassing. But worst of all the lead singer, Julie Westlake, who's voice is pretty unremarkable, made herself the focal point of the band by selling her sexuality on the cover and every other damn picture. It was obviously saying "hello boys, we're an utterly crap band but I've got a big pair of tits and have blonde hair which more than makes up for it".

The jugs are back for a 2nd album and Julie is back on the front in her underwear with blonde hair falling off her shoulders with the logo still containing the silhouette of, I'm presuming Julie herself, lying provocatively. It couldn't be any worse than their debut album, could it? No it couldn't. The only way was up for Hydrogyn and their second album Deadly Passions is a leaner and tighter affair that contains better writing and a more passionate vocal performance from the woman with the obvious knockers.

Hydrogyn trade in American rock, sometimes heavy, sometimes light and fluffy. Deadly Passions thrives on simple driving riffs that don't contain too many notes. Thankfully this time around they've cobbled the money to afford a decent production which helps matters many times over. Indeed, on opener Rejection, I was wondering if this was the same band. Its double bass drum attack surprises and the melody sits nicely in Westlake's range. On their last disc they sounded like a band who hadn't earned their stripes, plucked for a record deal too soon before they'd paid their dues to music's higher power. Not any more, On And On is another respectable tune as is Your Life which is quite hard hitting without being overly heavy. The title track however is like a hangover from their debut with its simple over-used riff. After the energy of the first three tracks, this tune puts the acidic taste of their debut firmly back in the mouth, which is a shame as it was all going so well.

As the album progresses even more surprises appear. The reasonable stab at Alanis Morissette's You Oughta Know aside, Over You is a mature and well written piece of dark rock as is the European sounding Candles Light Your Face. When the album concentrates on such brooding material and moves away from the generic American rock, Deadly Passions works very well.

As much as I wanted to break out the poisoned keyboard I couldn't bring myself to use it on this album. I feel as if I'm comfortable with myself to admit that I quite liked this CD, albeit through gritted teeth, and acknowledge that Hydrogyn have moved up several levels with Deadly Passions. The hooter woman…oops sorry 'Julie Westlake' sounds bombastic and powerful and impresses many times over the course of the album. After their first album I found I couldn't take the band seriously, and in many ways I still can't, but this is a huge step to change the minds of all those naysayers. In my opinion, the band should drop the 'Julie Westlake' imagery and focus on being a proper band because, as this album proves, there's more to Hydrogyn than a whopping pair of devil's dumplings.

Killing Songs :
Rejection, On and On, Over You, Candles Light Your Face
Pete quoted 68 / 100
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