Released: 2005, Limb Music Products
Let’s face it, Godiva didn’t exactly set the metal world on its ear when they released their self-titled debut album 2 yars ago. This is best evidenced by the fact that up until receiving this album, I’d never heard of Godiva whatsoever. Needless to say, this album probably won’t futher Godiva’s name either, as evidenced by the lack of talk about this new release. Not to say either of the band’s releases are bad, they certainly aren’t, and as a matter of fact, if a band like Saxon had released this album, most wouldn’t bat an eyelash and proclaim it to be one of the best releases of the year. I think it just might be Godiva’s lot in life to be passed over by so many metalheads who just don’t realize they could get their metal fix right here.
Godiva play straight ahead heavy metal, maybe a little reminiscent of some of the more recent, melodic heavy metal albums from bands like Saxon or Blaze but with a little less speed. The solos are generally pretty tasteful, nothing much over the top or used to create a jaw dropping response, but that’s what the band is going for: a straight ahead metal album, nothing flashy or excessive. Coming into the band’s sophomore effort one sees the vocal change from Anthony De Angelis to ex-Victory/ex-Wicked Sensation/ex-Biss vocalist Fernando Garcia. This change has amped things up in the vocal department with Fernando’s lack of accent and strong mid-range really puts a nice kick into the band’s songs. At times Fernando even reminds me of a Biff Byford…
Opening the album with straight double bass and a scream from Fernando almost makes one think Judas Priest before the song settles down some. The song is pretty balls out heavy and never really deviates from that; no real surprises, just pounding heavy metal. The title track is a rather melodic song, pretty catchy, very “single worthy” if that makes much sense. The verse uses some light open melody over subdued chugging when things open up for the pre-chorus/chorus where multiple layers of Fernando’s voice takes over. In, “My Fate”, one finds a strong fist pumping anthem, though with some rather pitiful lyrics. The song is kind of like the title track in that the verse is pretty subdued before the pre-chorus starts to build things up with a very cyclical melodic riff only to hit the heavy, almost chanting, chorus.
The band chose “When Lightning Strikes” as the first single and video from the album and it’s not too hard to see why. It’s pretty melodic and rocking, not too heavy (even though it retains all the elements of the rest of the album) but it’s certainly a bit more “accessible”. It kind of reminds me of Judas Priest in the 80’s actually, although this single isn’t as drastically different from the album (unlike many Priest singles from that decade… “Living After Midnight” or “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”?). For “Only Heaven Knows” the band try to offset the slightly more melodic approach from the prior song by going a bit over the top in heavy riffing. The verses are based on a thick, chugging, and very modern riffing while the song’s chorus is a bit too melodic and sounds a bit awkward (though it does grow on you after a while, I think a heavier chorus would have benefited the song better). The epic “The Flight of the Dragon” and the ballad found at the end of the album in “Free My Soul” are the albums only weaknesses, seeing the band somewhat out of their element. It’s nice to see them taking a hand at something a tad different but I find it doesn’t really work.
Godiva’s sophomore effort is a strong one and shows even more promise than the debut. It will be interesting to see how the band progresses with album #3 in a few years as they certainly have all the ingredients to make a modern classic.