1. Headache Machine 2. Hellraiser 3. Call Me Under 666 4. My Fate 5. When Lightning Strikes 6. Only Heaven Knows 7. The Flight Of The Dragon 8. Maneater 9. Proud To Be A Beast 11. Soulkiller 12. Free My Soul
So many times that fabulous debut hits the shelves and the whole world is yours for the taking. That is really what hit me when Switzerland's Godiva unleashed quite possibly one of the finest first swings in the history of metal. Godiva's rip-roaring assault, a punishing and melodic piece of hard and heavy, was on brilliant display for the world to hear, clearly coming out of the darkness and lighting a whole new region with their unrelenting self-titled record. The album and band for that matter was possibly one of the most important moments in the power metal genre, Godiva just delivering an enormous record, completely filled with the most over the top guitar sound, backed by the high energy vocal presence of singer Anthony Deangelis. What will record number two hold? Can it possibly keep up the break-neck pace of it's predecessor? What the hell does "Call Me Under 666" mean?
I'll just call a spade a spade and say this record is NOWHERE near the quality of the debut. Let's just face it, this album does not have that type of energy or impact. While the debut simply awed the crowd, "Call Me Under 666" is a different type of album. This time the group doesn't seem to be out for numbers, no pun intended. In fact Godiva are really just going through the motions here, still releasing a treasure of a record, but never really advancing or going to much further than a half-effort of what the debut was. Believe me when I say this is a good album, but when compared to the original....it's like comparing Barney Fife with Warren. Two totally different screen characters and two totally different reactions.
I would imagine the big problem here is the "walk-out" of lead vocalist Anthony Deangelis. According to the group's bio and site he just simply walked out of the recording. I'm not sure what went on there, but nevertheless Godiva picked up an icon in ex-Victory vocalist Fernando Garcia, who has recently spent some time with Biss and Wicked Sensation. Garcia is right on here, capturing that hard rock mood from a rather heavy record. His voice still sounds identical to his 80s work, the man just never seems to grow old or tired. He has found that proverbial fountain of youth here, really combining with Godiva in a perfect marriage. His style fits this record perfectly, as Godiva have slowed down their pace a bit and softened their sound a notch. That is where my problems begin, the "big" sound change.
Really I'm probably just looking at the debut a little too much, but this sophomore effort just doesn't have that kind of bang. With the debut we had huge, monstrous grooves on the likes of "Let The Tanks Roll" and "Heavy Metal Thunder". The band played the German power vibe perfectly with songs like "One Shot" and "Where Angels Die". Those types of songs aren't on "Call Me Under 666". That isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just a little under whelming. Sure this record has some huge chops, clearly evident on big blocks like "Proud To Be A Beast" and "Hellraiser". In fact the band probably play some of their most dynamic work here, with cuts like "Soulkiller" and "The Flight Of The Dragon" just stellar in epic delivery and finely tuned precision.
The debut had absolutely no filler and this record has it's share of slow moments. I just can't find enough to bite into with "My Fate" or "Maneater", both cuts just seem to have a strange arrangement. Again Garcia does his best with this material, really carrying a hard rock torch to light these tracks in a new light. But for the most part this album just seems to have lost the direction of the debut. If this was any other band's release, then "Call Me Under 666" would probably get an 8 out of 10. However this is Godiva, this is the band I've pinned my power metal future on. At this point that future seems a little unsteady. In hard rock terms this one is just killer. In power metal Godiva mode, this one just doesn't pull the rabbit out. Good, solid effort but one that still leaves me a bit heartbroken.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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