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Hydra 

Ennea (GHP Records)

Modern rock generally means "rock with half a riff and plenty of weak, poppy conventions, big choruses, and an over-reliance on forced melodies heard ad nauseam on crap radio." Hydra plays what modern rock should be: straight-up jams that've kept pace with the evolution of hard rock.

Hydra has been playing together for two years, headlining the Hi-Fi, opening for national acts at the Odeon, and finding airplay on rock stronghold WMMS. Billy Morris (the former Warrant guitarist) mixed the disc -- really mixed it -- keeping four solid performances sonically distinct. Ennea nails a precarious, difficult balance between timeless and retro. "Home" sounds like a leftover from 1985, with a lumbering rhythm and awkward, barely-in-key harmonies. "Crawl" recalls Guns n' Roses, but is closer to Velvet Revolver, all slithering, badass groove that doesn't quite go over the top -- but Hydra sounds like it's close to figuring out how to get there.

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More by D.X. Ferris

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