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Godyva - Planetarium
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Thursday, 05 August 2010
Godyva - CD Review
Planetarium
Godyva - Planetarium

CD Info

2008

Sorcery Studios / Razar Records

14 Tracks

English Lyrics

 

 

The Female Voices (MFVF) concert in Belgium seems to be something of a Holy Grail for Female Fronted Metal bands these days. And Godyva is headed for that concert this year, maybe not the headliner, but on the bill, and that is no mean accomplishment for anyone. The band is an Italian quintet headed up by a lovely Italian calling herself Lady Godyva. Now, I know that could lead to snickers in some parts, it’s the punch line of a million jokes, but this Lady Godyva can end them in a heartbeat with a vox that is at the top of the category. And, she’s a banker, go figure.

The band plays a brand of symphonic Gothic with vocals that approach the operatic regularly. There’s the B & B thing with vocals from the male vocalist, and guests on occasion and there’s some industrial material that harks back to some early Rammstein just to keep you on your toes. And just to make sure you can distinguish them from another Italian band of some renown, there is the strong keyboard that provides that symphonic that drives much of the Godyva sound. But, it is the vocal that counts. Our lady of horseback fame takes a number of tacks, from sounds that approach those of a certain operatic Finn to the more dark and dusky sounds that originate with vocalists like those from the Netherlands. Put succinctly, Lady Godyva provides a wealth of musical styles, each of them a treat to the ears.

Planetarium is the second release from this Italian band. The first one was good; very good, this one is better. I love a band that provides me with an opportunity to work on the question, "Are they better on CD or in video?" And Godyva is great in video. This VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXwJjxvasUU  from the CD under review here. Clearly, the band is more than just the voice, the base is from hell, the keys wail and the guitars drive the action to distraction. A solid drum provides a cushion to float the action. And our vocalist is a treat for the eyes, and a sound that takes us to places only the Italians can describe. My Inner is a highlight of the CD. It demonstrates the entire package, the vocals, the instrumentalists, and the writing. Godyva has a message as well, lyrics are strong, they take a direction and make it clear that there is something here to be said. The lady sings:

Every deep breath is a silent prayer
A scent in the air reminds me your presence
Love and Sacrifice
No God in Paradise
My inner sacrifice
We know the secret of the delight

The CD offers a variety of sound styles, but the sound tends to be big, probably due to the heavy emphasis on the symphonic and the large voice. Even when the band goes softer, in a relative way, that is. . . there is the big sound. The title track, Planetarium, takes this direction. There is a softer perspective; the Lady even goes to a spoken voice here. But the music moves to a heavier perspective as the vocals begin to climb over the symphonic base that drives nearly every song on the CD. Those keys move to a piano sound at points, especially where the vocalist whispers in our ears, but they move back to the symphonic as our vocalist moves over a lovely layered sound that takes advantage of the various capabilities of the Lady. Clearly, production was top notch.

No Fault demonstrates another component of the Godyva arsenal. It moves to the industrial initially. The vocals are sultry. The Lady can go deep with the best of them. A whispered plea accompanies the dark vocals. This is metal with a 50s twist. The subdued guitar provides a haunting beat; the base carries out its duties in a soldierly way. Drums are there to keep it all together.

But Godyva is at their strongest when the entire group is kicking ass. And they do it regularly. God is Fallen takes us to this place. The keys provide the direction, guitars crush and the vocals are as strong as it gets. There are subplots here, the strange interlude where we move in different directions, but the guitars reclaim the focus and the Lady returns to the sounds that drive the action. Again, lyrics are a strong point, and are clearly presented through the strong production:

Dark pages of my memory aren’t able to find the light
In your eyes and to shine like
All more beautiful memories
And in many different ways
They seem like writing by a confused writer
Remembers just his name but not his life

One of the stranger selections is H.I.L.T.H.I.A.W. (Outro) How I Lost The Heaven In A While. The vocals are almost entirely spoken over a lovely keyboard. It’s a poem, one of some considerable beauty, as only a talented vocal poet can deliver. The accent is Italian, of course, but the delicious tone takes it to a different level. Not something we hear every day, something completely different. The ending brings back a singing presentation that only augments what has preceded it. Truly enjoyable.

The final selection is entirely acoustical. The vocals are overlaid and highlight the truly lovely capabilities of our Lady of song. The acoustical guitars provide the backup and are among the best presentations of the Godyva guitarists. It’s interesting to contrast this selection against the previous version of the same song. That one again takes us in an industrial direction early on. Most of this comes from the keys, which drive the song in this presentation. When the guitars do chime in, the riff is again industrial, strong and charging. The vocals here are tougher, as opposed to the haunting that takes place on the final selection. There’s even a death metal vocal here, one of the few on the CD, and a pretty good one at that. Lyrically, the message is desperate:

I would like to crucify you on the ground of the grudge
And chain you to the wall of hate
Awake me, don’t forsake me again

There is a definite message within most of the Italian Gothic. And they seem to be able to convey that message as well as anyone. Other bands may take a slightly different direction, some harder, some more ethereal. But, the one common denominator seems to be the use of some truly beautiful vocals over some outstanding instrumental work. Godyva is at the top of the Italian Gothic scene. For those lucky enough to have tickets to this year’s Metal Female Voices Festival, this is one band you don’t want to miss. And the CD is a must buy!

9 / 10

Visit the bands website HERE

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