When I listened to this album the first time, my first though was, “You have got to be kiddin'? How can a band hope to make it in today's music business with such a singer?”...well, time to check the info, which (literally) reads as follows :
“HYDRO was formed in Ancona (Italy) at the very start of 2007 mixing strong and speed technical heavy metal. In September the same year, they recorded their first demo, simply called Promo 2007 and following the usual bout of touring and line up changes the bands sound became more defined. Melodic and progressive with influences varying from classic heavy metal bands (Manowar, Iron Maiden) through progressive power metal (Hammerfall, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Angra) and that gives you an idea of where this sound is borne. With Giutar endorsements already under their belt and some worthy festival appearances the band now armed with their debut record looks set to light the metal world. For fans of Helloween, Evergrey, Stratovarius, Hammerfall, Angra, Sonata Arctica” (note : this is an un-edited copy of the text; any occurring mistakes were already there)
Check : the musical description is correct! In fact, it sounds even better than it reads, you know! The musicians (guitarists Claudio Cavina & Cristiano Giancamilli, bassist Alexander Barchetta and drummer Gabriele Meloni, aided on occasional keyboards by guest musician Andrea “Dr. Bocci” Gagliari) actually bring a very nice and varied musical soundscape which falls nicely into the described style. And the high-pitched vocal styling even fits in the comparison to some of the bands mentioned (Helloween, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica), but what was very wisely omitted in the info, is the fact that the singer's English has a very marked Italian accent, and in some of his higher pitches he occasionally sings a false note. No amount of vocal variety brought in by additional singers (a grunter in passages of 3 songs, a female soprano singer in a short passage of the song “The Bridge Is Infinite”, and also doin' more “normal” backings in one or two other songs on the album) can divert the listener from this fundamental wrongness in the band's overall sound, and, for me, that's where the story ends, because a singer is too important a person in a band. Something wrong with him/ her, is reflected upon the complete band...which is something the musicians behind Nicola Santoni do not deserve. My advice to them, is to search a new frontman or woman, someone whom can better personify the quality which they themselves exhume.
Of course, everyone is allowed to make up his/ own opinion. Obviously, some people don't mind a little Italian accent (in the first place Italians themselves, but there's people outside that country as well), and after all the band has already enjoyed some success in its home country. So, to make up your minds for yourselves, just check what audio is available on the Internet. Try (www.) myspace.com/metalhydro or (www.) facebook.com/metalhydro, for instance! End conclusion : the relatively low rating below is evidently due to the singer's qualities. Personally, I'd like to hear this material again with a decent singer.