Godsticks are a band that I never give up on. I have the last 2 albums and just when I thought I hadn’t figured them out…the light bulb went on. I keep listening to “Emergence” over and over. And while I kept thinking “I should really like this,” something wasn’t clicking. Godsticks don’t do the “obvious” chord progression nor does Darran Charles sing the standard melody. Your brain expects what it expects and Godsticks does not conform to that. Once you allow the music to do as it will, that lightbulb goes on. In some ways, they remind me of King’s X but not the massive harmonies.
So after unlocking my own truth with Godsticks, I was curious to hear if it would carry on with the new album “Hard to Face.” Let’s just come out and say that this is the best album Godsticks has done to date. The riffs are heavy, the melodies are tricky but more memorable and Charles can still REALLY play guitar. The album kicks off really strong with “Guilt” and the title track. These songs walk the line of being direct yet slightly obtuse which is what this band does well.
“Open Your Eyes” (or “Open Your Goddamn Eyes”) is as insistent as you might expect while “We are Leaving” is more trippy. The latter switches things up at the right point of the album. I love the rumble of “Angry Concern” which not only has a solid groove but a smooth chorus. It makes for a nice contrast. “Avenge” adds a little funk to the groove while “Revere” is more tranquil and even jazzy. I really love “Everdrive” which is plenty prog with it’s oft kilter riffs and overall epic vibe. Check the guitar solo six minutes in!!
Kscope made a wise choice signing Godsticks because they were due to make their best album next. “Hard to Face” feels like a band realizing all of its potential and channeling into the music. If you love dark heavy prog rock that stops just short of what you might call “metal,” you should give “Hard to Face” a listen.
2. Hard to Face
3. Open Your Eyes
4. We are Leaving
5. Angry Concern
10. Fame and Silence