Godsticks are a four-piece progressive heavy rock band from South Wales, formed in 2008. Having toured extensively throughout Europe with The Aristocrats and Mike Keneally, most recently they can be found showcasing their newer, heavier material supporting bands such as Textures and Dorje. Drummer Tom Price and guitarist Gavin Bushell bring an accomplished and aggressive playing style to back up Darran Charles’ unique vocal sound and Dan Nelson’s driving bass. Their fourth full length studio album ‘Faced With Rage’ was released to critical acclaim via Kscope on 13th October 2017 and was described by Prog Magazine as “A winning blend of channelled aggression and emotional depth, combining lyrical intelligence and instrumental fireworks”.
‘’The aggressive feel and sound from Emergence remained intact but we think that we probably created our most progressive album to date, albeit unintentionally!” says singer and guitarist Darran Charles. “We wanted our previous album Emergence to be an onslaught of aggressive heavy guitars and vocals from start to finish because we felt we needed to make a strong statement about the direction we were heading in musically” reminisces Charles, “but ‘Faced With Rage’ features a lot more light and shade, and I think we’ve been more creative when trying to shape the dark and aggressive feel we wanted”. A variety of synth sounds found their way into the longer song formats of ‘Faced With Rage’ (brevity had been Godsticks’ calling card up until this point) but as always guitar and Charles’ vocals are still at the forefront of the band's sound.
Lyrically, Faced With Rage, explores the theme of people dealing with emotional conflict in different scenarios, and who have a powerful desire to change their behaviour or situation. It featured for the first time a four-piece line up with new drummer Tom Price and guitarist Gavin Bushell who bring a more aggressive playing style to back up Darran Charles' (who also performed on The Pineapple Thief's 2016 hit album Your Wilderness) unique vocal sound and Dan Nelson’s driving bass. Drums and vocals were recorded at the world-renowned Monnow Valley Studio in Wales (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Feeder, Rush and Manic Street Preachers) and the album was produced by James Loughrey.
Having already been hailed by the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine as “one of the UK's most idiosyncratic rock bands”, with their last album Godsticks delivered on their promise to be just as heavy as their self-released 2015 album ‘Emergence’ but this time with a darker feel and more industrial sound.
Godsticks are currently writing their fifth studio album.
Godsticks burst onto the progressive rock scene way back in 2009 with their eclectic EP, titled simply Godsticks. The sheer originality of the music was greeted with enthusiasm by critics and music fans alike, with the band being considered “a refreshing approach to the contemporary music scene”.
In July 2010, the band released their debut full-length album Spiral Vendetta – the culmination of 16 months of writing and a lengthy production process. The extensive production proved worth it as the album received a unanimously positive response, being described as ‘mesmerising’. As Jez Rowden of DPRP said: "Spiral Vendetta has it all in spades with chops, emotion, musicality and imagination, the songs pack a breathtaking amount into concise pieces and the album in no way outstays its welcome."
A worldwide distribution deal was secured on the strength of Spiral Vendetta and the band completed a number of tours and festivals, supporting such acts as ‘The Pineapple Thief’. In March 2012, Godsticks were also the supporting act on a 5-date UK tour with ‘The Aristocrats’; featuring world-renowned guitarist Guthrie Govan. The tour was a huge success and introduced the band to a much wider audience.
At the end of that tour the band went into the studio to record The Envisage Conundrum. The recent and extensive live work had influenced the newer material and it became much heavier and more guitar-driven. None of the band's vaunted originality was lost but The Envisage Conundrum represented a more focused and settled band, still offering an eclectic array of songs, but in a much more accessible package.
The Envisage Conundrum was released in 2013 and packed a hard punch in places, whilst maintaining a steady move forward in musicianship and writing. Kerrang Magazine said: "From the stuttering hard rock of Caught In A Bind to epic three-parter Borderstomp's electric jazz, we get flashes of innovation and virtuoso class". In 2013 Godsticks supported ‘The Mike Keneally Band’ on a 13-date tour of Europe and co-headlined a UK tour with ‘Knifeworld’. A three-week European tour in 2014 supporting ‘The Aristocrats’ followed, and that tour in particular indirectly forged a path towards an even heavier sound.
In April 2014, Godsticks continued to explore the heavier side of their musical style and set to work writing their third full-length studio album Emergence (released September 2015). A great deal of research was spent in achieving the sound they had in mind for this album. Drums were tracked at Monnow Valley Studio in November 2014, whose incredible and acclaimed live room provided the perfect foundation for the heavy guitar tracks that were to follow.
Their previous album, Emergence, was also produced by James Loughrey (known for his work with acts such as Skindred, Manic Street Preachers and Def Leppard). It received great reviews and signified a milestone in the progression of the band from complex eclectic prog-rock to a more focused, heavier progressive metal style filled with addictive grooves and memorable choruses. Total Guitar Magazine said “Emergence is a rare thing – an album of technically astounding prog-metal replete with hooks and melodies". Typically for Godsticks, who are difficult to pin down to a specific genre, Emergence has been likened to a variety of different bands at the heavier end of the progressive spectrum, including Mastodon, Rush, and Alice in Chains.
The band line-up that features on Emergence had existed since 2010. Drummer, Steve Roberts, was hired by founding member Darran Charles to play on the debut EP and subsequently joined the band. Bassist Dan Nelson was brought on board a short time later (original bass player Jason Marsh left in late 2009), having been discovered by Darran via a YouTube video Dan had posted of himself playing a Godsticks tune. In September 2015 Steve Roberts departed the band and an additional guitarist, Gavin Bushell, joined along with drummer Tom Price. Godsticks subsequently went on to be signed by Kscope records and released their most successful album to date, ‘Faced With Rage’ in addition to playing headline shows across the U.K. in 2018.
Godsticks are: Darran Charles (vocals, guitar, keys), Dan Nelson (bass), Gavin Bushell (guitar) and Tom Price (drums)