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This is what Judas Priest should've been doing after Painkiller. Straight-ahead, riffy, polished Heavy Metal with aggressive vocals and a sharp, punchy guitar tone, with little to no -core bullshit at all. This is pretty low-brow and junk food-esque stuff, being instantly gratifying and catchy, leaving no room at all to grow on you or reveal new nuances and tidbits that you may not have noticed before. No, Godiva is extremely straightforward, laying all of their cards on the table right from the first juicy riff of blazing, careening opener "Razorblade Romantic," and not really upping the ante or changing the stakes throughout the entire 45 minutes or so of this self titled debut.
Godiva is exactly what you'd WANT the masses to think Heavy Metal really is, because while this is not the best the genre has to offer, nor is it a masterpiece, it provides a reliable blueprint for a genre that is often vastly misunderstood by the un-knowledgable sorts that clean our floors, teach our children, and manage our salaries. I don't know about you, but if this band were to be the first one that popped into the average teenager's mind when the word "metal" was uttered, as opposed to trash like Lamb of God or Hellyeah, then I'd be more than happy. This is over the top and cheesy as Hell, but that is (usually) never a bad thing for a seasoned metalhead or metal band. They have a no-bullshit attitude and plenty of pomp and swagger, which is something that should always be present in this style of music, and they have a vocalist that can really wail and shriek his ass off, as well as being able to use a lower, more gritty vocal style which really adds to the killer riffage on display. It is too bad that the vocalist here departed after this album was done.
Not every song here is great, as there are some clinkers like the boring "Cold Blood" and "Let the Tanks Roll," but when Godiva are on top of their game, they are really on, pumping out mammothic slabs of steel ownage like "Heavy Metal Thunder," "One Shot," "When Angels Die," and especially the blazing cannon-fire assault of "Riding Through Time." The songwriting is a bit lackluster, being rather repetitive and simplistic, but Godiva bust out their music with attitude and conviction, and so I do not mind as much as I would otherwise.
Godiva is a basic and stereotypical exercise in True Heavy Metal, but that does not make it at all unenjoyable. They haven't really progressed at all since this, and they probably never will, but they remain a solid outlet for dependable and enjoyable Heavy Metal, and for that, I respect them enough.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
I can only simply explain this as to be heavy metal with balls; this is quite a killer headbanger chock full of driving riffs, blazing solos, and fantastic catchy choruses that run over in my head for days after listening. Godiva aren’t bringing anything extraordinary or out of the blue to the metal scene but they are playing the traditional heavy metal along the lines of the almighty Judas Priest, but it doesn’t matter if it’s completely original – it matters that they rock so fucking well and absolutely slay because they do what they do very well.
This talented young band starts off with this debut automatically pulling up themselves higher up amongst all those hundreds of bands trying to play classic metal in this new age with a twist. It’s quite a modernized twist because the production is so crisp and clean that makes everything sound updated yet still able to rock old school style. This self-titled debut delivers and is very impressive showing that these guys are serious and are here to stay reflected from their music.
Onto the actual music, everything from the beautiful high pitches wails of the vocalist to the badass unstoppable riffs oozes the word ‘metal’. These guys know how to rock. Each song is unique in itself but this album works best when listened to from start to finish. The obligatory odd no-vocal intro starts it off and then after that you get nonstop fast paced metal to the end with the exception of the mid-tempo “Cold Blood”. While it’s best listened to from start to finish, there are obvious stand outs; “Razorblade Romantic”, “Heavy Metal Thunder”, “Riding Through Time” are all exceptional rockers that contain killer choruses, riffs and some very talented solos. I dare everyone to listen to “Razorblade Romantic” and NOT sing along during the chorus. Fucking catchy!
The single lone guitarist is very talented and conjures up some solos that blaze by so fast and simply make my jaw drop. I haven’t been this enamored with solos since I heard Wintersun or DragonForce. The solos may not be very long or drawn out but fit the music perfectly, very Priest-esque; fans of solos MUST check this out. Another crucial part of Godiva’s music is the vocalist, Anthony de Angelis, who is very akin to Rob Halford in his prime Judas Priest days combined with the lower deeper voices of Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger, which might be a slight stretch but I got that feeling that reminded me of him from the song “Bullshit Lover”. Drums and bass play their parts all with keeping up to the music and do their job, not making their presence known as much as the guitars and vocals.
Godiva has made serious headway with just one debut album like this, making a name of themselves as true metallers like Manowar carrying the battle flag into battle. This is a definite recommendation to all the heavy/traditional/true/metal with balls fans out there. True heavy metal hasn’t packed this much a punch from first listen in a long time and you’re only screwing yourself over if you don’t pick this up right away!