Hydra, the debut record from Sweden’s Deville, starts like a good hard rock record should – with a turbocharged rush of riffs and muscle. In a just world “Lava” would get a Grammy nom in whatever rock/metal category they still have going. Though nothing else matches that opening blast, the rest of the record wastes no time getting its power chords on, blasting away with amps set to shout. That said, the band doesn’t rawk out at the expense of melody – whether the quartet raises the flag for epic battles (“Burning Towers”), keeps the choogle firing (“Over the Edge,” “Imperial”) or simply heads-down blazes forward (“The Knife,” “Iron Fed”). The band’s grunge/hooks balance occasionally threatens to tip over into Nickelback territory, but fortunately singer/guitarist Andreas Bengtsson has neither the ego nor the interest in teenage poontang to push the band into that nightmare world. If you’re looking for some solid hard rock thrills, Deville delivers.
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