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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