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Godsticks: Faced With Rage

OK, first things first, cards on the table, being Faced With Rage is my first encounter with Godsticks, the Welsh outfit long being a band I've heard talked about, without actually having experienced their sounds. Are they prog? Are they metal? From what I've read before that's not been an easy call to make. Now that I've lived with their fourth album for a few weeks, the answer still isn't much more forthcoming. In reality that's because right across this album the musical technicality and dexterity is undoubted, but when they want to go large and boisterous, Godsticks can do that too. Does that make make them prog metal? Well, not as we understand that genre-tag, no.

Expanding to a four piece for the first time, singer, guitarist and keyboard player Darran Charles and bassist Dan Nelson are joined by new drummer Tom Price and second guitarist and synth man Gavin Bushell. Based round a loose concept of people being faced with different emotional conflicts and with Nelson also openly admitting that Faced With Rage is indeed Godsticks' most progressive offering to date, that this is not an immediate album may not come as too much of a shock. Instead, even as "Hard To Face" contains some biting riffs and a harsh but smooth guitar solo, and "Angry" proves a slow, lumbering fist of fury, so they both need time to evolve and grow as they settle into the mind; the depth of both pieces making them all the more rewarding after numerous listens.

There's also plenty of variety, Charles' wide vocal delivery reminding of everyone from the much misses Chris Cornell of Soundgarden right through to Stuart Nicholson of Galahad and much in between. It's a keen weapon and when aligned with the gnawing riffs, staccato beats and deep synth wash of "Avenge" the effect is soothing yet insistent. "Open Your Eyes" suggests Charles' recent time with The Pineapple Thief has carried over into his main band, the attacking then retreating stabs of guitars very TPT in nature. While the more moody and melancholic side of his vocal attack is allowed to come through, even reminding of Masters Of Reality's Chris Goss on this occasion. That "Unforgivable" almost trips over into stoner-doom territory before adding a more upbeat (if still downcast) mid-section melody, not only shows the diverse approach employed, it also explains quite neatly just why so many people find it difficult to tie down exactly what it is that Godsticks do. That however is a real strength and one illustrated again and again over the ten tracks presented here, each song clearly linked to those that surround it while happily forging its own individual path. In itself marking this album out as progressive, as does the level of musicianship on display. However Faced With Rage is heavy and in places undoubtedly metal, so pinning this band to one particular style even after countless dalliances with their latest album still proves refreshingly difficult and possibly explains why Faced With Rage still sounds as fresh as it did on first encounter.

Track Listing
1. Guilt
2. Hard to Face
3. Open Your Eyes
4. We Are Leaving
5. Angry Concern
6. Avenge
7. Revere
8. Unforgivable
9. Everdrive
10. Fame and Silence

Added: December 3rd 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Godsticks online
Hits: 1788
Language: english

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