[Review] Godsticks – This Is What A Winner Looks Like

Godsticks are a band from Wales with a Progressive Rock and Metal sound, formed in 2009. The sixth and new album “This Is What A Winner Looks Like” was released on May 26, 2023 via Kscope and contains 10 tracks. Opener “If I Don’t Take It All” immediately immerses us in the band’s musical atmosphere, with granitic chitrarra riffs and a solid, elaborate rhythm section. The tempo changes are an added value to the sound, as are the vocals, which are dynamic and very intense and expressive. Guitars intertwining with a very expressive vocal open “Eliminate and Repair.” An elaborate track that incorporates elements of the different genres that make up the band’s personal style. The guitar work is fine, with fine interlacing and solo inserts, while the solid rhythm section features solid, elaborate drumming and deep, load-bearing bass lines that give body to the track. In the final part, the band offers an instrumental section that closes with technical phrasing. “This Is My New Normal” is another track that enhances the band’s compositional and performing technique, showing their fresher, more modern side. The intesnity increases as the minutes pass and the song evolves, with fine guitar work and tempo changes, mixing tactical passages and melodic openings with a personal touch. The vocal and instrumental parts follow each other in a perfect balance of Progressive Rock and Metal with a modern imprint. Guitar arpeggios and a warm, expressive vocal open “Devotion Made to Offend.” In a continuous musical crescendo, the song is very intense and full of refined cues that enhance the technique of all the elements of the band. Despite being in line with the new Prog trends, the band manages to express its own personal style, giving this track an original imprint. An intro with deep, atmospheric sounds over which a very expressive vocal enters characterises “Silent Saw.” Traditional sounds are mixed with an electronic and modern touch, creating a more reflective and softer passage than the previous ones. Here again, both the vocals and the instrumental parts enhance the band’s compositional and performing technique, making for a very intense and pathos-laden passage. With “Throne” the band returns to a more heavy sound, with an elaborate structure, enriched by tempo changes with forays into metal. Granitic guitar riffs and a solid rhythm section characterise the song, while the vocals offer melodic refrains that counterbalance the more energetic and hard verses. A concentrate of technique and energy with technical phrasing and solo inserts of absolute value. “Don’t Say a Word to Me” opens with electronic and modern sounds, and then develops into a progressive track with more heavy stretches and scratchy guitars. The vocals give a melodic touch to the track, which is permeated with well-constructed guitar riffs and continuous tempo changes that allow the various influences that make up the band’s style to range. An intense vocal interpretation at all stages of the track, fitting well into the musical context of the song, leaving room in the finale for an intense instrumental section enriched by a short but intense guitar solo. One of the heaviest tracks on the album “Mayhem,” which was also presented with an official video, combines technique, energy and melodic, engaging choruses. Since the release of the video, I have been really impressed by the sound of the track, so much so that I listen to it on an almost daily basis and in my opinion it is one of the highlights of the album. Here again, the band manages to incorporate the technique of Prog Rock with the heavier traits of Prog Metal, united by the common thread of their distinctly personal style. “Lying” develops by alternating intense vocal parts with beautifully crafted instrumentals, a song full of pathos and melancholic atmospheres. Softer than the previous one, it shows a softer facet of the band’s sound, however still very elaborate and with refined passages. The longest track in duration “Wake Up” concludes the album. The vocal parts are dynamic and very expressive, alternating with intense and very elaborate instrumental textures that incorporate elements of Prog Metal and modern traits. The tempo changes are an added value for the song structure, allowing the musicians to express themselves more freely. A track that leaves us wanting to listen to this work again in the future. This band is confirmed as one of the best on the modern Prog scene, confirming the good things heard over the years. Their style is original, modern and markedly personal, always enjoyable, creating a smooth and intense tracklist from start to finish. A recommended listen for lovers of new Prog Rock sounds with heavy influences, in my opinion one of the best releases of 2023 for technique and originality.

Tracklist

01. If I Don’t Take It All (3:25)
02. Eliminate and Repair (4:52)
03. This Is My New Normal (3:49)
04. Devotion Made to Offend (4:12)
05. Silent Saw (3:25)
06. Throne (4:31)
07. Don’t Say a Word to Me (5:03)
08. Mayhem (3:44)
09. Lying (4:01)
10. Wake Up (5:06)

Lineup

Darran Charles / Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Dan Nelson / Bass
Gavin Bushell / Guitar
Tom Price / Drums

Godsticks |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Kscope |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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