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Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A rare instance of progression in the modern "progressive" rock scene.

When it comes to progressive rock there are a few breeds of bands, those who make an effort to expand their musical talents to play an eclectic range of music, and those who get trapped in nostalgia. More often than not I find the latter in my cd player, and to be honest it's getting harder and harder to overlook the fact that some people can't do any more than throw up a 20-minute long synth solo that sounds like Genesis and call it a day. We're also coming to an age where things are simply starting to turn into a compensation contest. Frustrated musicians pumping out 78-minute long tracks as a gimmick to sell an album or two. Something happened somewhere in the road with progressive rock which has turned the majority of the artists in the scene into zombies, crunching out tunes that ultimately all sound the same.

Godsticks, on the other hand, have been one of the few bands that show that it doesn't have to end like this. Their debut album may not exactly be "hot on the heels" of their first EP, which emerged promisingly 2 years ago, but the wait has paid off. Spiral Vendetta shows a band who has taken the most of their time to refine and sharpen their sound. The first listens of this album are a little shocking if you were a hard-core listener to their debut EP. Things have really mellowed out overall in the band's music - and at first it does seem like a bad thing. However, after a number of listens it becomes very obvious that had the band decided to stick to the quirky sounds of their EP the ideas would have run out rather fast. Instead of trying to do what they've already done the band instead explores new ground, first put out on their EP with tunes like Clinical. New songs like Unnerving Allure show an incredibly matured band putting together a memorable piece of music. However, Godsticks would not be the same band that jumped off the page with Puppy Gardener if they didn't still have a bit of quirk left in them. Enter Norman, one of the album's biggest standout pieces. A frantic track that can pull together the energy of Gentle Giant without ever sounding like a clone act. If you're thinking that I'm contradicting myself with this comparison after my earlier rant then you clearly need to hear the song to believe it.

Standouts on the album are not hard to find. The band is able to openly show their musical chops without ever once going overboard into self-absorbed wankery. The Offer Still Stands is a strong opener that sets the more mellow mood while still promising a rougher edge. The Continuation Of Livid is a strong instrumental piece that once more closes the book on any questions (if there were any) in the band's ability to play. R.R.R. is a funkier piece that helps the album to be the eclectic collections of tunes that it is while Withdrawn Was The Giveaway slides in subtle moments of virtuoso playing to an easily digestible, mid-paced piece.

Ranting, raving and praise aside - Godsticks is a band that needs to be watched, because if they continue on this path of musicianship they could easily take over the dying world of progressive rock and imbue it with new life. This is an excellent addition to any music collection ("progressive" or otherwise), and I have full confidence that the band can only get even better from here.

Report this review (#305020)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The UK outfit GODSTICKS was formed back in 2006, initially as a cover band. By 2008 they had written enough material to compile a 5-track EP which was met with generally positive feedback, including earning them a spot on the attached CD to the first issue of the now highly successful Classic Rock presents Prog magazine. "Spiral Vendetta" is the first full length production by this trio, and was self-released in the summer of 2010.

If you enjoy jazz rock and fusion, in particular if strong and distinct melodies suit your musical tastes, "Spiral Vendetta" is an album that should cater for most if not all of your needs. The easygoing nature of the songs makes it a good introduction to the genre for the curious as well, especially if venturing into this style of music from a more mainstream-oriented musical taste. All in all a solid effort that deserves attention.

Report this review (#343850)
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is one of those albums where the focus is on the vocals and lyrics. Sure we get some good instrumental music but rarely is that the focus. I'm not big on these types of records although I certainly have quite a few that I value highly. Unfortunately this isn't one of them.

The first track is exactly what i'm talking about with a short guitar solo before 1 1/2 minutes. "Unnerving Allure" has some nice bass in it and a guitar solo before 3 minutes followed by piano. "Timshel" is one i'm not too fond of with the prominant drumming and vocals. "Norman" has an aggressive intro and vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. This reminds me of ECHOLYN. This along with the only instrumental are my favourites. "Put Seven In Bold" is one I can't get into. The focus is on the vocals and there is this punchy sound.

"Withdraw" is a good vocal track. "Traverse" features piano and reserved vocals. It picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. "R.R.R." is punchy with vocals. "The Continuation Of Livid" is the instrumental I like. It's pretty intense and when it settles we get some nice bass. "Unravel" is acoustic guitar and vocal led. A nice song.

A good album no doubt, but not exactly my style of music.

Report this review (#752372)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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