Courtesy: Dewar PR
Independent hard rock band Hydraform is scheduled to self-release its new self-titled EP Friday. The three-song record is the Denver, CO-based band’s debut EP and second overall studio record, coming approximately three years after the band released its debut album Dark Adder. While it runs not even 20 minutes (17 minutes to be exact), the record deserves its own share of applause. That is due in part to its musical content, which will be addressed shortly. The lyrical content featured in the EP adds to its interest, too. It will be addressed a little later. The EP’s production and mixing rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the EP’s presentation. All things considered, they make Hydraform an interesting addition to this year’s field of new EPs.
Hydraform’s forthcoming self-titled EP, scheduled for release Friday, is an intriguing new addition to this year’s already packed field of new EPs. It is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once. That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements. The EP is composed of just three songs, but all three are new presentations from the band. What’s more, they display the band’s growth when set against the band’s 2016 debut album Dark Adder. The EP’s second entry ‘Chained,’ which the band debuted recently through v13.net, is the most notable of its offerings. Front man Carter Pashko’s vocal delivery joins with Matt Gotlin’s polyrhythmic drumming, the subtlety of John Jarvinen’s bass line and the cutting guitar line of Jacob Streifer to make the arrangement really stand out. It takes elements of Tool’s dark prog metal, crosses that with some post-grunge influence and some groove metal to make the whole. Given, one would not initially think that on paper, such an amalgam of styles would gel, but it surprisingly does here, and does well. As a matter of fact, the combination of those elements makes ‘Chained’ the EP’s most accessible work. The band obviously knew that, having debuted it as the EP’s lead single, too. It is just one of the EP’s notable works. ‘Parasite’ deserves its own share of attention, too.
‘Parasite,’ opens with a gentle, flowing piano line that shortly gives way to a heavier, guitar-driven sound complete with Maynard James Keenan-esque vocal delivery from Pashko in the verses. Pashko changes things up in the choruses with a more guttural almost death metal style vocal approach, while his band mates keep the arrangement’s Chevelle meets Disturbed meets Disturbed sound progressing. Again, it sounds like an odd combination of influences (and it is) but it still works here in its own unique way. It is not as accessible as ‘Chained,’ but is still an interesting work in its own right, and closes the EP on a strong note.
Hydraform opens just as strongly as it closes if not more so thanks to ‘Born of the Sea.’ This song’s arrangement is best described as a metalcore style presentation that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. That is due to the pairing of Streifer’s guitar work and Jarvinen’s bass line. The elements create a harmony and intensity that when they are joined with Gotlin’s precision behind the kit, makes it another surefire hit for the band. Keeping that in mind along with the attraction of ‘Chained’ and the interest generated through ‘Parasite,’ all three songs come together to show why this EP’s musical arrangements make for such interest in the record. While the EP’s musical content will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment, it is only a portion of what makes the record worth hearing. The EP’s lyrical themes present their own interest.
‘Chained’ is just one example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes. This song’s lyrical theme comes across as centering on the issue of dealing with our own personal issues. This is inferred over the course of the song’s nearly seven-minute run time (six minutes, 40-seconds to be exact). The song opens with Pashko singing about wearing a mask and night and how that is supposed to protect us from the “demons lying under your bed.” As the song progresses, its subject wonders “when I will see you again” and “when I will become free.” Later in the song’s run, he says, “What does it mean/To embrace insanity/We all just abide…What will they do/When they get the best of you/Getting under your skin/Just start again.” It really makes for an interesting, unique take on the familiar topic of taking on our inner issues. Again, this is all just this critic’s own interpretation. It should not be taken as gospel, though the wording – metaphorical as it may be – certainly points to the inferred matter. To that point, this is sure to keep listeners just as engaged as the song’s musical arrangement. It is just one example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes. ‘Born of the Sea’ is one more example of that importance.
‘Born of the Sea’ comes across as a far cry from ‘Chains’ at least in its lyrical theme. Unless this critic’s interpretation is wrong (which is possible), the song seems to be one of those fantasy style works about someone living at sea. It comes across as being that simple. This is inferred right from the song’s outset as Pashko sings about black sails, the sun hitting the subject’s eyes “as the anchor” pulls from the water. As the song proceeds, there’s even mention of “the deep blue water turning black” and “the deep abyss/never coming back.” So apparently, someone died at sea? If in fact this is really the basis of the song’s lyrical theme, then it definitely stands out against the song’s musical arrangement. More often than not, such content is accompanied by like-minded music from perhaps the likes of Alestorm and other similar acts. To that end it definitely stands out. It’s just one more way in which the record’s lyrical themes stand on their own merits here. ‘Parasite’ is sure to engage listeners with its lyrical content just as much as its counterparts.
‘Parasite’ comes across as a statement about someone who just lives to make others miserable, metaphorically sucking them dry. Or in another fashion, it could be a focus on that part of us in our minds that we combat so often. This is inferred in the lines, “Free/Free to spread my mange/Free to burn this…/Free to sow terror in our souls/Try/Try to cut me out/try to kill yourself/Try to purge this part of you, you hate.” Considering this, it would seem the latter of the two interpretations is likely the more likely case. As the song continues, there is also mention of “A little boy’s inside my head/Telling me/Screaming at you.” Even more here, it would seem that the song is centered on the matter of dealing with one’s own emotional and mental health issues. Keeping that in mind, it becomes another song that will connect with listeners that much more, and one more example of what makes the EP’s lyrical content so important. Together with its companion musical content, the record’s overall content gives listeners reason to hear Hydraform.
The content featured within Hydraform’s 17-minute run is certain to engage and entertain audiences with its accessible and relatable musical and lyrical content respectively. For all that said content does for the record, its production and mixing puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Sylvia Massy, known for her work with the likes of Tool, System of a Down, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, was responsible for bringing everything together for the finished product. Massy is to be commended for her work as each element – instrumental and vocal – is so well-balanced within each song. What’s more, Massy’s guidance with the band also played into the way in which each song was arranged as part of the production and mixing. It might explain the balance between the piano line and heavier elements in ‘Parasite’ and the balance in the EP’s metalcore style opener. No one pat outweighed the others there or even in ‘Chained.’ In other words, Massy’s work behind the boards and with the band served to help give audiences the best product possible from the band. The result is a record that while short packs a big punch. That punch, together with the content, makes this record a very real candidate for a spot on this year’s list of top new EPs.
Up-and-coming independent hard rock band Hydraform’s new self-titled EP is a record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Its mix of musical styles and influences plays into that appeal. There are prog-metal influences, as well as hard rock and even metalcore influences audible throughout the three songs featured in the record. They will generate plenty of engagement and entertainment for a wide range of listeners. The mostly relatable lyrical themes featured in the record strengthen the record’s appeal. Together with the production and mixing, all three elements combine to make it a positive new offering from the still young band. All things considered, it is a valid candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs. More information on Hydraform is available along with all of Hydraform’s latest news at:
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