(Anti) Utopia is the debut album by the Russian power / progressive metal band Hidden.
The CD starts with the seven minute long ‘Slaves Of Plastic’. There’s an atmospheric keyboard intro., leading to a catchy, well constructed guitar riff and lively drumming and some hauntingly beautiful female vocals, quite operatic, with a sense of drama and slight desperation. There are plenty of tempo changes, with good interplay between the different musicians and some exciting guitar solos. It’s an impressive and dramatic opener to the CD. A catchy, chunky riff with lovely pinched harmonics gets track 2 underway. It’s called ‘Control’. It also has that sense of drama again. ‘The Day Of The Lord’ comes next. It kicks off with another classy guitar riff, very energetic drumming and sweeping keyboards. The guitarist uses his pinched harmonics to good effect. There’s some growling male vocals to go with the gentler female voice of the lead singer. The interplay between the musicians is impressive in this track and throughout the CD. ‘The Apostate’ has an atmospheric middle-eastern feel to it, before the guitarist gets into another enjoyable riff. There’s a quick pace to a lot of the track. The growly man vocals are more prominent in this track. There’s a really good mid section, where the drummer leads the intricate interplay between the musicians.
‘The Dictator’ starts with more lively drumming and good harmonies and interplay between keyboards and guitar. The track is beautifully sung. It’s yet another good track, with mood and tempo changes aplenty. Next up is ‘Death Traders’. There’s plenty of guitar excitement here with dramatic pinched harmonics, a variety of guitar riffs, sustain and tempo changes. There’s a good bass and keyboard mid-section , which slows things down a little, before a flowing guitar riff and very fast drumming ‘Death Traders’ runs into the ballad ‘Seduction and Pain’. It’s beautifully sung, accompanied by piano / keyboards and maybe cello. ‘The Afflatus’ has a fast pace to it, with more great interplay between the skilled musicians in this band. It’s quite classical in its style. There are loads of interesting tempo changes in this track. Some of the solos were a bit lost in the mix, which is a shame! ‘Veni, Vidi, Persuasi’ has a mournful cello like start, but, soon develops into another fast paced track, with more good musicianship, haunting vocals and tempo changes. There’s a couple of really enjoyable heavy guitar riffs, rumbling bass and manic drumming.
Overall, this is a really good cd, with great musicianship and singing.
By Chris Greenwood