Godsticks
The Envisage Conundrum


3.8
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
May 3rd, 2013 | 17 replies


Release Date: 02/04/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Godsticks expand their unique brand of progressive rock delivering a much heavier, yet still distinctly melodic presentation.

When the Welsh trio Godsticks released their splendid full-length debut Spiral Vendetta in 2010, it didn't take long for critics and fans to start singing their praises. The band is definitely onto something totally unique in the current progressive rock scene. Their style is difficult to pigeon-hole, and it's safe to say they've already developed their own identity with a peculiar mesh-up of art rock and jazz fusion. As expected, The Envisage Conundrum continues the foray into their refined style, superbly combining the angular arrangements with bitter-sweet melodies.

Frontman Darran Charles is at the top of his game augmenting the complex rhythmic patterns with finessed guitar leads and supreme jazz-inflicted vocal lines. The song structures remain admirably adventurous taking some time to thoroughly decipher. Even though the band likes to describe their style as progressive pop due to its ethereal nature, the album requires multiple spins to be fully embraced. The patience is rewarded though as most songs happen to be enticing at long last. The ballads that propel the mid-section of the record are arguably the best indication. Both “Benchmark” and “Submerged” deliver blissful, Gentle Giant-echoing melodies on top of labyrinthine transitions.

In comparison to its predecessor, The Envisage Conundrum is more dynamic in its sonic approach boasting several heavier tracks that, according to the trio, work better in a live setting. Charles' distorted riffs highlight “Caught In A Bind” and the title track that sports an instantly memorable hook in its enchanting refrain. The newly acquired technical metal influence also makes its presence felt in the three-piece epic “Borderstomp” that showcases Godsticks in their most ambitious and emotionally bruised mode. While Charles' lyrics have always been distinctly personal, here they reek of disappointment and anger. The suite's second segment “Blind” is particularly masterful with its exquisite progressions climaxing in a beautiful cello motif. In contrast, subdued “Raised Concerns” is stripped down of any complexity making for a deeply poignant finale.

However, there are points when the presentation gets bogged down by the trio's great ambitions. The flow of the record isn't as impeccable as the debut's, being disrupted either by the occasionally subpar songwriting of “In A Way That Ended Me” or the lengthy piano instrumental in “Disclosure.” Despite these shortcomings, The Envisage Conundrum is an essential progressive rock release that bursts with originality, the quality which often proves deficient in the scene populated by copycats.




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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Video for Borderstomp Pt.1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RENo4ay8fE0

The album's available on spotify.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

There are some Toolish moments on here and Gentle Giant echoing melodies.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


10383 Comments


Interesting, man. I'll have to check this one out, I've been needing some good progressive lately

Digging: Thou - Heathen

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

If you have spotify, there should be no problem.

Willie
Moderator
May 3rd 2013


16149 Comments


This sounds interesting. Will check it out -- especially if it's on Spotify.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Jethro42
May 3rd 2013


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Spiral Vendetta ruled, so I guess I need this album too. Good job on the review, Greg.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


10383 Comments


Willie, I'm a Spotify mongrel too!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


6344 Comments


Checked the YouTube link, not bad at all.

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

It's not very different from Spiral Vendetta. The same style... it's just heavier and more guitar-driven in places.

Jethro42
May 4th 2013


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds interesting.

Jethro42
May 4th 2013


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also i like your rec'd bands. Very appropriated.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


3505 Comments


This sounds nice. I'll check the whole record out.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Motorpnakotic Fragments

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

It's great if you're into progressive rock. I got a promo, but it seems Spotify is the best place to check it out.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


3505 Comments


Unfortunately, I don't have Spotify in Romania. It's not the first time I can't check some band because of this inconvenience. I guess I'll just get Spiral Vendetta first.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Ah. Really? Spotify's available in Poland.

That's a great start. I actually prefer Spiral Vendetta to this.



insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


3505 Comments


I've been listening to more progressive lately. I love the new Ocean album, so I went back to the rest of the discography too. Also, Amplifier, Rush and Pink Floyd were some progressive acts I listened to the past week. I wonder why no one reviewed the new Amplifier record.

I tried several times to listen through Spotify and always said it wasn't available in my country. I should use a proxy, maybe it would work that way.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2013


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah. The new Amplifier album is really good. Nothing in their discography tops their debut though.

For me, Spotify works just fine. I don't need to use proxy.



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