Godiva – Hubris (Self-Released)

Friday, 3rd February 2023
Rating: 7 / 10

Forming way back in 1999, Portuguese band Godiva started their journey of symphonic/gothic death metal with a series of demo / EP releases during the 2000’s, only to take an eleven-year break before returning to the stages a few years ago. The quintet has come a long way to finally arrive at their first full-length with Hubris, comfortable in assembling ten tracks that straddle multiple sub-genres to keep interest at peak levels. The use of choirs and orchestration heightens the natural electric instrumentation, beyond the fierce growls or measured, alternative to darker nature within the vocals – serving up a veritable whirlwind of emotional shifts, the transitions often quick to the take in the same arrangement.

Guitar tapping or frantic, extreme levels of blast beats go hand in hand with orchestration sequences that blend together the best of melodic death/black metal to make “Death of Icarus” an early front half standout – the mid-tempo marching nature to the main hooks battle tested for glory. Incorporating textures of early Crematory, Rotting Christ, and Septicflesh as far as pacing, riffs, transitions, and the deeper growling nature of Pedro Faria’s vocals, the classical-oriented licks plus tremolo runs against a haunting, cinematic keyboard backdrop magnify the hooks throughout “Godspell”. The bulk of these songs possess hefty, aggressive guitars, steady drumming supplementation, as well as the adequate diverse screams/growls necessary to be convincing – yet in the long run, much of what you’ll hear has been done slightly better by their influences. The off-time blast/cymbal juxtaposition during segments of “Media God” pushes Eduardo Sinatra into highlight reel mode – beyond the sudden softer keyboard/drum transition that moves into some emotive, catchy/cultural lead break action. The extravagant fullness to the production is another plus – you just wish that the band took a bit more risks in the main musical components to diversify the mid-tempo nature most of these arrangements fall under.

Talent is present for Godiva – this could possibly be a case of needing that extra level of seasoning along with critical ears to refine the initial ideas into that next level of originality. As such Hubris will appease some yearning for symphonic, melodic death metal with gothic overtures, and send others reaching for the veterans still cranking out fresh material.

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