As a German I don’t only have one idea how to pronounce it, the word also looks very strange. A rather short wikipedia entry brought light into the darkness: Cathubodua is the name of a Gaulish goddess, which appears to be identical with the Irish goddess Badb Catha, which is the goddess of war and one aspect of the famous Morrigan. While there is not much known about Cathubodua herself, it is believed that Cathubodua means battle-crow. That’s an interesting and promising name for a symphonic metal band right? We will come back to that later…
Cathubodua was founded in 2013 with the violinist and composer Katrien, Arely on drums, Roel and Kenny on guitars, Peter on bass and Sara on vocals. The band soon started to play live on several occasions in Belgium. In 2016, Arely decided to pursue other musical adventures. William replaced her when he joined the quintet. Now they released their first EP called „Opus I: Dawn“ with an intro and four songs. It has a playing time of about 22 minutes.
The band name hints which themes Cathubodua apply in their songs. Inspired by fantasy tales and historical legends, Cathubodua create a feast for the ears of every fantasy and medieval fan. The lyrics are dressed in solid symphonic metal. Strings, wind instruments, e-guitars… everything is there. What makes Cathubodua stand out from standard symphonic metal are the medieval inspired instrumental parts. The best example are the violins in „Imperium Solis“. This parts sometimes reminds me of Haggard, but Cathubodua uses the e-guitars more frequently.
Throughout the songs the classical instruments stay mostly in the background, creating a listening expierence and, therefore, creating a unique new sound. Another highlight is the awesome voice of the singer who is classically trained and keeps varying her voice through all the songs from a more rocking approach to a full opera voice. Combining these different ways reminds me of Dianne van Giersbergen’s voice on Ex Libris' „Medea“. The singer Sara has a very strong voice and uses it to it’s fullest.
After all the praises - is there a negative point as well? Yes, but it is complaining on a very high level. Personally, I would have liked it, if the voice of the singer had sometimes been a bit louder on the record. While it’s always present, the instruments sometimes threaten to devour it.
Cathubodua isn’t only off for a solid start with their first EP, they prove that they are ready to play on the high-league of symphonic metal!