The sound of the third Godsticks album came as a bit of a surprise. At some point between the release of their second album ‘The Envisage Conundrum’ and the writing of 2015’s ‘Emergence’, things took a heavier turn. It wasn’t necessarily for the better. What had once been a fairly inventive prog band with a few harder moments was now a full on prog metal band. The lion’s share of ‘Emergence’ was rather…dull. Still, some fans seemed to take to the more aggressive sound and it undoubtedly attracted a few new ears. For better or worse, at least this was a prog band actually progressing.
Mixing rock and progressive edges on their first two records, Welsh trio Godsticks carved out a sound that they could easily build upon. Given the soaring melodies and atmospheres they’ve proved more than capable – particularly on songs like the lovely ‘Withdrawn Was Giveaway’ – it’s hard to work out why they felt they needed a change of direction. Their third release ‘Emergence’ severely cranks up the heavier edges…and the over-riding sound is that of a grungy hard rock with occasional prog-metal quirks. If you like that, that’s fine, but if you actually liked what Godsticks did before, it’s a crushing disappointment. Gone are the clean lead guitars and any neo-prog string bending; gone are the crisp and tinkly melodies and basically anything that made Godsticks worth listening to…and in their place, a bunch of riff heavy, needlessly repetitive dirges.