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Fuelled by rage: how Godsticks made their ferocious new album

With a new line-up, their first record deal and the heaviest album of their career, Wales’ Godsticks are shaking things up with new album Faced With Rage – Darran Charles tells us all

Darran Charles likes to be busy. He’s just wrapped up a tour where he pulled double duty every night, first fronting his own band – the pummelling progressive metal quartet Godsticks – after which he would return to the stage as guitarist for The Pineapple Thief.

“It was a lot of hard work, but to be honest with you, the adrenaline usually gets you through each day,” says Charles. “It’s the travelling that’s the tiring part of the tour. I enjoyed doing two sets. Boredom is the biggest enemy on tour, so keeping busy all the time would be my preferred choice.”

Over the course of an EP and three albums, Godsticks have steadily honed their sound, with the band embracing their heaviest instincts on 2015’s Emergence. Now Faced With Rage continues in the same furious vein while pulling in new sounds and influences. Alongside the industrial intensity of Guilt and Unforgivable, there’s the melancholic mood of We Are Leaving and the off-kilter syncopated epic Everdrive.

A host of factors have fed into Godsticks’ evolving sound, including the presence of two new faces in the group, with Gavin Bushell joining on guitar and Tom Price taking over the drum stool from Steve Roberts.

“We didn’t purposely go in a heavier direction – all the albums were pointing in that direction,” says Charles. “The heaviness was inevitable. Having Gavin and Tom on board, they’re on the same page musically. We explored not just heavy sounds on guitar but heavy textures and a darker, atmospheric feel that [2015 album] Emergence hinted at and that we’ve realised on Faced With Rage. We’ve not just turned up the gain on the amp, we’ve explored darker sounds compositionally, as well as producing heavier guitar sounds, and those two definitely had an impact.”

Showing they haven’t lost their progressive proclivities, Faced With Rage includes the longest piece of music in the band’s catalogue to date in the form of the thickly knotted rhythms of Everdrive.

“I never thought I’d write something that was eight minutes long,” confesses Charles, who usually prefers shorter tracks, despite growing up listening to Yes, a band not exactly known for their love of the concise composition. “It used to annoy me, the 20-minute epics, not because they were long but because I wished they’d done little points in the middle where you could skip ahead to a particular section. I like to make a statement pretty quickly, but with Everdrive it just kept going. I didn’t feel the point had been made after four or five minutes. It just ended up at eight minutes. Then you’ve got a song like Avenge which is less than four minutes long because I think I’d made my point after four minutes, whatever that point was.”

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