Godsticks are a four-piece progressive heavy rock band from South Wales, formed in 2008. Having toured extensively throughout Europe, most recently they can be found showcasing their newer, heavier material supporting bands such as Textures and Dorje. Fresh from their European tour with The Pineapple Thief at the start of 2017, Godsticks entered the studio to finish work on their new studio album - Faced With Rage, which was released to critical acclaim via Kscope on 13th October 2017.
Having already been hailed by the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine as “one of the UK's most idiosyncratic rock bands”, with their new album Godsticks have 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.
‘’The aggressive feel and sound from Emergence remains intact but we think that we’ve 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 have found their way into the longer song formats (brevity had been the 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 features 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 and is part of their live touring band) 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.
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, has joined along with new drummer Tom Price.
Godsticks are: Darran Charles (vocals, guitar, keys), Dan Nelson (bass), Gavin Bushell (guitar) and Tom Price (drums)
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.
Godsticks frontman Darran Charles commented on the style of 'Emergence':
“A conscious effort was made only to select songs for the album that maintained a stylistically consistent theme throughout. The original premise of Godsticks, to ensure that a song remains interesting from start to finish, was still intact but our live shows seemed to have an overarching influence on every new song written - the more we play live, the heavier our sound seems to get. Guitar pretty much shared duties with keyboards on the early Godsticks releases but lately it has become the driving force, and this is epitomized in ‘Emergence’. So in essence: we’re the same, but different! We can’t wait for people to hear it!”
The new album, 'Faced With Rage' has been described as "the band’s most rounded album and feels like a pinnacle of their career to date” [Ghost Cult Magazine]. This new release is full of thundering riffs, intricate solos, and – as often is the case - a few surprises too.
To access promotional materials such as press releases, videos and hi-resolution images please click here.