For some reason, female-fronted Metal bands don’t seem to achieve the same amount of respect as their male counterparts. It’s no secret that Metal is a male dominated genre, and large breasted female lead singers are normally just good for an enticing album cover. However, Hydrogyn has come forth to break all the preconceived notions and rules regarding female Metal vocalists. Yes, lead singer Julie Westlake has a pretty face and is also very well-endowed, but what makes Julie unique is that she can actually sing, and extraordinarily well at that.
Hydrogyn was formed in 2004 by guitarist Jeff Westlake. Their latest album Judgement is the band's fourth full-length release. This album is packed full of varied Hard Rock and Classic Metal styled songs. Each track takes you to a different and exciting level of this band's diversity. The songs are very well written, the musicianship is very professional, and (of course) the vocals are amazing.
All of the tracks are primarily riff driven. The very talented Jeff Westlake is mainly the sole guitar player on this album, as well as the prime songwriter. Westlake plays using a very classic sound, with nothing too over the top. Some of the riffs are very simple, and some are more heavy and complex. He also manages to produce some slick solos on each of the tracks. The main focus of this album, however, belongs to the lovely Julie Westlake. Julie has an outstanding and boisterous vocal range; most of the tracks are sung using a lower and sultry voice. However, she is not afraid to stretch her instrument to its limits. Try to imagine the vocal talents of Ann and Nancy Wilson, Pat Benatar, Amy Lee, and Shirley Manson all wrapped up into one person; and you will have Julie Westlake in a nutshell.
Musically, there really isn’t a bad track on Judgement. There are a couple of songs that stand out as highlights, such as the enchanting “Alone”, which features some really enjoyable harmonies and has a classic 80’s Rock feel to it. The haunting “Don’t Be My Judge” is an all acoustic song that also features some great harmonies as well as some very poignant vocals from Julie. Another song of note is the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman”. This was an interesting choice from Hydrogyn because Julie struggles to copy the classic Stevie Nicks vocal style; but it's a pleasant listen nonetheless.
Judgement is the complete package when it comes to classic, hard rockin’ Metal music. The heavier tracks on the album are a little more cutting edge than the slower, captivating ballads. That being said, you do get a little bit of everything on this album. Also, as an added bonus, you get a great singer with great assets (in more ways than one!).