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Alien Heart

Southern Brigade (2013)
Rating: 8.5/10

Since forming in 2000, Italy’s Godyva have played alongside such bands as Theatres Des Vampires, Panic Cell, Tristania, Rage, Dark Funeral and Arch Enemy at a variety of festivals including Metal Female Voices Fest, Gothic Rave, and God Bless The Metal.

Having released two albums (2006’s In Good And Evil and 2008’s Planetarium) prior to Alien Heart, the band remain an unsung hero in a largely stale genre of music. The fact is that, although their sound is not genre bending, breaking or defying, they are better than most of the bands that dominate the symphonic and gothic metal marketplace.

‘Apocalypse Fire’ kicks things off here, leading in with some electronic nuggets that quickly become decorations for the heavy guitars and straightforward, often ballsy vocals. Its sequel, ‘Apocalypse Fire II (Grand Final)’, ends the album and is even more enjoyable with its driving groove and more epic feel.

Lady Godyva has a very feminine but very strong voice and the absence of operatic fluttering or angry, unladylike growling is immediately felt. It’s the tremendously interesting title track that really hooks you though, mixing in some male vocals and allowing Lady Godyva’s voice to soar a little more amidst the pop-riddled electronics and strong guitar lead.

The no frills goodness of ‘This Light’ is a late in the album highlight as well. It’s a little symphonic, a little heavy, and very melodic. At first, it seems like a song that’s not all that special but I found myself unable to get it out of my head on repeated listens.

The beautiful ballad-ish ‘In Your Eyes’ showcases another side of the band, landing somewhere between Epica and Blackmore’s Night musically. ‘My Earliest Memories’ has a more gothically inclined edge to it, meanwhile, reminding me a good bit of Lacuna Coil’s last few albums. ‘I Stay Here’ takes the same idea but twists it in a more dynamic way, ebbing and flowing between the quiet and the bombastic sides of the band with ease.

Overall, Alien Heart is a great album for anyone that enjoys female-fronted bands with a heavy edge (read as Epica, Leaves’ Eyes, Midnattsol, early Within Temptation, Amaranthe, Tristania, Sirenia, Delain, and so on). It’s quite likely that you haven’t heard Godyva before, so I suggest you get acquainted as soon as possible if you enjoy this genre even a little. If you are familiar with them, Alien Heart is sure to impress.

Mark Fisher

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