- Album Reviews

Godyva – Alien Heart

Maybe it’s because it relates to women in general, or maybe just another fixation of mine, but for some reason, gothic metal (perhaps gothic culture in general) has always been fascinating to me. There is something that attracts me like a magnet, it’s not just the clothes, the music, the attitude and that love for darkness. The gothic metal is about elegance, dark romance and an achingly beautiful passion that is injected in every note. Alien Heart, by Godyva, pours huge amounts of these adjectives, but also brings a load of cleverly molded originality, which results in a stylized gothic metal, melodic, eclectic, energetic and superbly dynamic.

Godyva was formed in Bari, Italy on 2000. After some changes the current lineup consist on former members Lady Godyva on vocals, drummer Enyo, and bassist Nick Barah, along with keyboardist Beezart and guitarist G.G. Gohm. The band has received media attention from the first moment and has performed at some important festivals in Italy and Europe, such as the Metal Female Voices Fest in Belgium (with Arch Enemy, Epica, Tristania and among others). Alien Heart is their third studio album and this time the band committed to a much more eclectic and mature work, enriching their music with different influences, mixing some interesting ingredients that makes Alien Heart much more than a traditional gothic metal album.

As I mentioned, Godyva summarizes everything gothic metal should offer, and the lady who leads the band doesn’t show any weak point. From her style and attitude to her impressively versatile voice, Lady Godyva (Which is a pretty badass name if you ask me) is unmistakable evidence of the important role played by women in the gothic genre. Her voice is incredibly charming, more than strong, is intense and solid. With the authority of a warrior, she fills the whole album with her extensive range, developing sweet melodies, almost lullabies, where her delicacy contrasts with the roughness of the riffs and blends perfectly with atmospheric keyboards, showing a little more rough and sharp vocals at certain moments, and also, thanks to her huge interpretative talent, singing higher notes in a very passionate way, when her voice comes to reach the operatic singing style, and takes you through this labyrinth from beautiful to heavy to beautiful and so on, leaving you defenseless against her charm, sometimes with no time to breathe.

Songs like Apocalypsis Fire, (I and II), My Earliest Memories and I Stay Here are a nice sample of the variety and sound experimentation in which Godyva has decided to submerge their expectations, a variety that wasn’t present in their previous albums. A strong symphonic and electronic / new age sound are highlights from their new spices, although some arrangements also show a progressive trend, disguised under the heavy riffs of guitarist GG Gohm (sort of machinegun sound sometimes, they kill you and you don’t even realize) and some truly epic keyboards of Beezart. An elegant, sweet and warm ballad like In Your Eyes is always welcome in a gothic metal album, especially because of the sensitive interpretation of keyboardist and singer, and the atmosphere that is built around these two. Now, if we are looking for more innovation and energy, Everything Is Over has much to deliver, as it might be an hybrid child of Linkin Park and Lacuna Coil, especially because of the rapped vocals from a male voice, adding even more flavor, Another worth mentioning song (mainly because is literally stuck in my head) is I Feel You, a cover of Ti Sento, a song that was popularized in 1985 by the Genovese pop band Matia Bazar. The original song is obviously in Italian, Godyva’s version is in English, leaving only a small part of the original lyrics, where Lady Godyva shows even more of her talent, and moves through an impressively wide range. Apparently the band is currently recording a music video for this song, and between you and I, yours truly cannot wait to watch it.

The lyrics are perhaps a little less dark and pessimistic than we are used to hearing in this genre, and are undoubtedly one of the most important points to the band. The theme of apocalypse is addressed several times, although from different points of view, because, like everything in life, something that can be an irreparable disaster or an imminent end for someone, can be a rebirth full of joy and an opportunity for make peace with the inner self for another one. The music in general is full of strength, darkness and light, different feelings within the same song are given neatly by the musicians, thus creating a kind of theatrical ambiance. dense and majestic, a fine power that exudes femininity, feverish passion and above all, dark and magnetic elegance. The technique of each of the musicians is palpable, and the best thing is that all the songs could potentially be singles, I really can’t think on any particular song that stands out above the others, the band’s work and production are neat, and the songs grab their hands, making almost an obligation to listen to the whole album without skipping any of them.

Needless to say that Alien Heart hit me hard. If there is something that makes me vibrate is symphonic metal, and Godyva has plagued their music with intense orchestration, involving a much more heavy sound than on their previous albums, and even adding some choral moments intensifying the modern sound of the band. The songs are bouncing in my head for several days and I am not sure if they will ever go away. There are a couple of details that I prefer to not disclose, merely because I’d like you to feel goosebumps too, but just a hint: If you miss those young Lacuna Coil’s or dark Within Temptation’s first albums, Godyva will bring you that, and will add new age, electronic, progressive, stunning vocals, catchy melodies, heavy riffs and very special atmospheres. Definitely a must have for all gothic metal lovers, Alien Heart is a very rich, varied, stylish and classy album. Top notch intimate gothic metal, very dynamic, no failures, no gaps, no weak points. Another sample of the special way that Italians have of creating quality music, accessible and incredibly sublime.
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