Godiva
Hubris

According to the promotional emails, Godiva is one of Portugal’s longest-running melodic death metal bands and has a large symphonic element, so I had to check them out. They were formed in 1999, but haven’t been super productive with a few demos and EPs in their early years, but nothing other than a single since 2007.  So Hubris, is actually the band’s debut album, 22 years into their existence.

So what we have on Hubris is basically something akin to the early years of Germany’s Crematory (think….Just Dreaming or Transmigration); some mid-paced, almost gothic metal-based melodic death metal with lots of keyboards.

It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It’s very simplistic, plodding melodic death metal, albeit with a lavish, big production. The well-done synths (the album’s best element) of guitarist André Matos are big and bombastic, the vocals of Pedro Faria are adequately gruff rasps and growls, and there is a definite sense of veteran polish and confidence. However, the song-writing isn’t quite as dynamic as I’d hoped.

When seeing ‘symphonic death metal’ as a promotional tag, I’m envisioning something along the lines of Argentina’s  Mortuorial Eclipse, Brazil’s Humanizer, or maybe even the genre masters, Fleshgod Apocalypse. But with Hubris we get much more of a Gothic death metal sound like Crematory as mentioned earlier or mid-90s Nuclear Blast bands like Agathodaimon, Godgory, Sculpture, some tempered Dimmu Borgir and such. Fans of newer Rotting Christ and Septicflesh, will probably enjoy Hubris as well, as there is definitely an influence from those 2 bands here as well.

The problem is the songs never get out of second gear. Even with all the dramatic orchestration (they recently performed live with a 50-person orchestra), big, crunchy riffs, leather, and corpse paint, there’s rarely anything in the riff department that matches the bombast of the orchestration. But again it’s not bad.  It’s an easy listen, with a few foot-tapping, consistently paced moments here and there.

Of the 10 tracks, only “Media God” or “Faceless” really deliver something a little more fierce and urgent. Otherwise, its likes of “The Meaning of Life”,  “Black Mirrors”, “Godspell”  “The All Seeing Eye” and ‘Dawn” all having a pretty standard, more moody gait and pace, that never quite delivers. And that sort of sums up the whole of Hubris.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 26th, 2023

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