Godsticks
Spiral Vendetta


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
February 15th, 2011 | 13 replies | 6,281 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A frenzied mixture of lyrical progressive rock and jazz fusion results in one of the most unique albums of 2010.

It's a shame that Godsticks have to self-release their debut album "Spiral Vendetta" to virtually no publicity. Whether it was the outfit's conscious decision or not, this fact more than anything else proves the demise of music industry failing to recognize what's quintessential in the current progressive rock scene. While other so-called progressive acts put out their overlong, pretentious concept albums, Godsticks come as a breath of fresh air. The Welsh trio present their very own vision of music that's not easy to categorize or compare to any prominent artist working today.

In general, their style can be described as a frenzied mixture of lyrical progressive rock and jazz fusion with the focus being on songwriting rather than technicality. The chief components of the band's highly melodic and rather mellow approach are the funk-laden rhythm section and airy vocals courtesy of the band's frontman Darran Charles. He is responsible for delivering a tour de force performance using his distinct soft voice to create intriguing melodic soundscapes. His delivery ranges from addictively polirythmic ("R.R.R.") to wonderfully lyrical ("Travers") in its tone. His voice feels like a musical instrument throughout the album playing an indispensable role in crafting melodic contrasts. This feature immediately recalls proggresive juggernauts Gentle Giant. The fact that simultaneously Charles is able to deliver meaningful lyrics cannot be overemphasized.

Not unlike the majority of ambitious progressive albums, "Spiral Vendetta" may be defined by its ever-changing time signatures and structural complexity. The act's music is surprisingly accessible though due to the peculiar blend of melody and jazzy grooves ingrained in practically every composition. Drummer Steve Roberts along with bass guitarist Bryan Beller are nearly always at the forefront making for a precise, yet sophisticated rhythm section, whereas Charles opts for clean guitar shredding that abounds with solos. The ingeniously subtle use of keyboards is just another aspect that elevates the album's numerous progressions.

Opener "The Offer Still Stands" sets the tone of the disc with its dreamy, chilling vibe. Out of many highlights, "Norman" especially emerges as masterly providing the heavily syncopated section that transforms into superbly executed melodic passages. Not very far behind is "Withdrawn Was The Giveaway" that relies heavily on piano. The same piano makes a splendid introduction to "Traverse," a poignant ballad with a lasting power. "R.R.R" is yet another standout piece that distinguishes itself with its heavy-on-funk dynamics. The amazing second half of the album ends with instrumenatal "The Continuation Of Livid" that indicates virtuoso technical skills of musicians, followed by excellent, this time entirely acoustic ballad in "Unravel." The lapses are few and far between manifesting themeselves mainly in somewhat uninspired progressions of "Timshel."

Overall, there's virtually nothing to dislike about "Spiritual Vendetta" since Godsticks have executed their refreshing style to perfection and thus raised the bar for themselves incredibly high. They will certainly have a hard time surpassing this record in the future. For now, let's just experience one of the most unique progressive rock albums released lately.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm so addicted to this album. Simply beautiful!

http://www.myspace.com/godsticksmusic

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Inveigh
February 15th 2011



24800 Comments


nice review Greg

think this would be up my alley? any apt comparisons?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. Frankly speaking, only Gentle Giant come to mind. Maybe, a bit Rush. But, that's way more
jazzy. I wouldn't compare it to any modern prog band really. Here's the sample:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4yyeSnYpPQ

cb123
February 15th 2011



1993 Comments


sounds pretty interesting man

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Because it is. I like what you're digging. Cool EP!

cb123
February 15th 2011



1993 Comments


haha cheers, i like your reviews man, ya do alot of interesting stuff rather than the bulk of people reviewing whats already been done or well known

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a bunch. That's actually my point. To discover the awesome unknown.

Inveigh
February 15th 2011



24800 Comments


that song was really cool dude, this is going on my d/l list for sure

Jethro42
February 15th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's actually my point. To discover the awesome unknown.

You do it very well, dude. Also, you write good reviews, keep the good work up!
Annnd you're right, band is strongly influenced by acts like Gentle Giant, Rush (in some extent) and the more modern prog act Beardfish as well IMO.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wouldn't say they were strongly influenced by anybody, perhaps some jazz fusion acts I don't know.
The influences are not easy to trace here. They definitely have their own, unique style.

Thanks for your support. I find it really motivating.

Jethro42
April 11th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band rules. Jazz but funky. No wait, funky but jazz. People who like this would also like;
Jean-Luc Ponty
Planet X
Allan Holdsworth
UK
Bill Bruford
Bill Bruford Earthworks
Scott Henderson
Beardfish
Gentle Giant
Rush
...and their derivatives


greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Allan Holdsworth and Bill Bruford! Count me in Jethro.

The album is just too awesome to be so obscure. It may change a bit when they'll release it in the US on June 25th.

Jethro42
June 11th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Peolple who like it need to like Echolyn, a band I dropped into oblivion couple years ago that I now revisit much more deeply with a great pleasure.




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