After the release of their new album ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ last year, Godsticks have continued to keep up the momentum in 2024 with a run of UK shows at the start of this year alongside an appearance at Planet Rock’s Winters End Festival. 

Now in June and September the band are continuing to build on this success with even more live dates across the UK. Frontman and guitarist Darran Charles had the following to say:  

“Our last few tours have easily been our most successful to date. Upon reading some of the reviews of those shows, it’s heartening to see that we’ve become recognised as a high-energy live act, even a ‘must-see’. This recent success is why we’re planning on touring far more regularly and travelling to places that we’ve never been to before. 

If we can keep growing the audience numbers as we have been, then it’s our ambition to create an even more special live experience and perform on some even bigger stages. However, we must admit that the intimate venues we’ve been playing of late have definitely made for some very memorable shows, so we’re determined to create more. 

One thing we’re confident of is that once you come to one Godsticks show, we’ll guarantee you’ll come to the next one – it’s a great time for both the band and the audience. Miss us at your peril!”

19/6/24 Heartbreakers, Southampton – Tickets

20/6/24 The Asylum 2, Birmingham – Tickets

21/6/24 The Globe, Glossop – Tickets

05/9/24 Three Wise Monkeys, Colchester – Tickets

6/9/2024 Le Pub, Newport, Wales – Tickets

Their love for writing and productivity had been reignited simply by being able to perform live. Experimenting with electronic sounds and delegating writing duties in the band allowed ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ to be their most collaborative album to date. 

Order the album here:




Order the album HERE (https://godsticks.lnk.to/winner)

Listen to Throne HERE https://orcd.co/godsticks_throne_single

Watch the video here:

After the release of their new album ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ earlier this year, Godsticks unveil a new video in celebration of the album’s next single ‘Throne’. 

‘Throne’ itself exists very much in the heavier sphere of the band with downtuned chugging guitars forming the driving of the verse before the song opens up for a melodic and memorable chorus, culminating in a euphoric finale. The video, produced by Martin Holmes ( @ohmzfilm ) brings the ferocious nature of the band’s live performance to foreground. 

Frontman and guitarist Darran Charles had the following to say:  

“Throne was one of those tracks that had been taunting me for a number of years. I had the verse and intro nailed years ago but every time I tried to develop it further, I just hit a creative brick wall. I’m sure that wall gets higher and thicker for some songs more than others, but I don’t think I’ve ever given up on a song if, deep down, I knew there was potential there.

Thankfully with the help of the rest of the band, I broke through that goddamn motherfucking wall and as soon as I hit upon that chorus melody, everything flowed easy. It’s become one of my favourite songs on the record and also the hardest to play live, but given that we never shirk a challenge you can expect this song to feature in every setlist from now to eternity.”

Darran expands on the meaning behind the track as well:

“Lyrically, Throne is about the bottomless pit of someone’s narcissism when they have a position of power. Where they’re both absolutely sure minded and also the most fragile person ever, and how those two states usually go hand-in-hand. So as with the half of our songs, it deals with my frustration with other humans .. the other half of course dealing with my frustration with myself.”

To support their recent album the band will also tour the UK in 2024 

31/1/24 – The Lousiana, Bristol

1/2/24 – The Peer Hat, Manchester

2/2/24 – The Hope and Anchor, London

3/2/24 – Planet RockStock

09/02/24 – The Bunkhouse, Swansea  

The band is determined to do as many live performances as possible in support of ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’, especially because it was live performance itself that provided the initial creative spark that spawned so much of the music on the album. 

Darran Charles commented that:

“We asked and listened to where our fans want to see us play, so as well as returning to happy hunting grounds like London and Manchester, we’re doing our first ever headline show in Bristol. Plus there’s not one, but two chances for our Welsh brethren to come see us live again! We love being on tour so we’re very excited to be playing more headline gigs, and to be working with the good people at Planet Rock again for the Winter’s End festival.”

Their love for writing and productivity had been reignited simply by being able to perform live. Experimenting with electronic sounds and delegating writing duties in the band allowed ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ to be their most collaborative album to date. 

Review – Godsticks – This Is What A Winner Looks Like

It’s been a long and eventful road for Godsticks since emerging onto the scene with their eponymously titled EP in 2009 showcasing the band’s then progressive-rock leanings. Since then, subsequent albums became progressively heavier and received further critical acclaim, culminating in the ‘genre redefining’ prog metal masterpiece that was ‘Emergence’, which ultimately led to them being signed to Kscope. Having extensively toured Europe since 2012, in the last few years the band have finally gained recognition as the explosive, high energy live act they’d always threatened to become.

Having released their fifth full-length studio album, ‘Inescapable’, in February 2020, a mere month before the world plummeted into lockdown, the band had no means to perform the new songs to an audience. Living in this world of stasis, it wasn’t until September 2021 when the band were able to perform the tracks for a live audience that they began to think about their next album. 

“It was impossible not to notice the creative tsunami that the pandemic engendered in the music industry – every band and their dog were writing and releasing new music. For me though, it was the least creative time in my entire life.” mentions guitarist and band main man Darran Charles.

Their love for writing and productivity had been reignited simply by being able to perform live. Despite the new-found resolve, the band remain humble yet incredibly driven. Experimenting with electronic sounds and delegating writing duties in the band allowed ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ to be their most collaborative album to date.

Recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios, the album was produced by James Loughrey and mastered by Maor Appelbaum. The album’s striking cover artwork was created by Richard Beeching who mentions “The band and I agreed we needed a visually engaging sleeve to match the album’s strong title, but nothing too literal.  Something just about abstract enough to allow the audience to make of it what they will.  Our primate fits the bill nicely.”

Godsticks come crashing into your inner space with an almighty, primeval bang, this new album is hard, dissonant and downright heavy, with a capital ‘H’! Progressive metal with a definite emphasis on the ‘metal’, opener If I Don’t Take It All has crunching riffs aplenty and Charles’ vocals have that hard-edged, world weary style to them. The rhythm section feels hewn from granite and yet there’s a melodic vibe deep down, especially on the chorus. There’s a real vibrancy to the music although that vibrancy has a definitive chaotic edge to it. What a thunderous start to the album! Eliminate And Repair takes a step back with it’s staccato guitar and incessant beat, like everybody is just waiting for things to kick off. The track ebbs and flows a bit but never quite explodes, becoming something of a brooding slow burner. This Is My New Normal opens in a similar vein with that restless and skittish guitar hitting you where it hurts but this track has a really funky chorus in a (heavy) Red Hot Chilli Peppers style. There’s a real groove to the track, if an exceedingly heavy one and I’m sure this will really rock in a live setting. Godsticks can turn the dial back when they want to, as the low key, intense and somber Devotion Made To Offend shows. A weighty and thoughtful track that really gets under your skin, the rhythm section really shining and providing the foundations of what is a really classy song. Silent Saw dials it back even further and reminds me a bit of Queensrÿche at their ‘Empire’ peak. The sorrowful vocals and melancholy tones of the guitar add real solemnity and gravitas to the track and make it one of the stand out pieces on the album.

Time for a punch to the solar plexus, Throne and Don’t Say A Word take the quieter, reflective mood and blow it apart with excellent recurring riffs and discordant beats that break into a superbly melodic chorus once again, these guys really have the knack of blending the two and it gives their music a real polish. The lead track from the album, Mayhem, is exactly that with a monstrous riff that could flatten buildings, it’s not just metal, it’s HEAVY metal! It’s so bloody heavy that you can’t help but just love it and it’s got to be a mosh pit favourite at the forthcoming gigs. Revelling in the chaos of the track, Darran Charles, had the following to say:

“I stumbled upon this really ugly dissonant chord that sounded great with distortion, and thought about ways of making it sound even nastier and more chaotic (hence the title). But I was also interested in causing Tom (drummer) physical harm so I devised a bass drum pattern so complex that it will likely cause him a repetitive strain injury in the very near future. This song promises to be immense live and the music video hopefully translates the energy we’re going to bring to the stage when we take this song out on the road.”

Lying is a delightful, lighter, track that allows you to pick yourself up after the preceding rock behemoth and sees Charles’ vocal take on a much more atmospheric tone and the music is given space to breathe, which is welcome. I love some seriously heavy music as much as the next man but, now I’m getting older, I do need a sit down now and again. The elegant guitar solo is a highlight of what is an airy and refined piece of music. The album closes out with Wake Up where Charles’ dynamic vocal and the stylish music remind me of some of Chris Cornell’s solo work. While lacking the punch of some of the other tracks, this song really has intelligence and depth and shows a more inventive side to the band.

If you like your progressive metal with a big emphasis on the metal then this new album from Godsticks is one you should definitely check out. There are heavy, mountain moving riffs galore and a rhythm section that is as prodigious as they come but there’s also some high quality melodies and Darran Charles’ excellent vocals complete what is a rather impressive package.

Released 26th May, 2023.

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Progradar’s Q&A With Darran Charles of Godsticks

Ahead of the release this Friday of the band’s acclaimed new album ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’, Progradar sat down with frontman/guitarist Darran Charles to get the lowdown…

1.     Godsticks were formed in 2009, for you, personally, how much has the music scene changed in the last 14 years? 

Good question. I suppose in terms of the prog scene, I’ve seen that a subset of Prog – Prog metal – has now become the dominant force in terms of popularity, and arguably they’ve become the new boundary pushers, which is what prog has always been known for.

Obviously the way music is now consumed means there’s less income to be derived from the sale of physical media, so we now see bands having to earn their income mainly from touring. And since Brexit it’s also proving cost-prohibitive to play shows in Europe. All in all, there hasn’t been much that has changed for the better for bands!

That said, the consumer has never had it so good. The music scene is absolutely saturated with bands and a huge percentage of these bands are absolutely great. As technology has become more accessible as the years go by you see more and more people being able to exercise their creativity and produce things on par with anything that was created with a huge studio budget.

2.     Who were your influences then and who are they now?

At the time of the EP, I was mostly listening to Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, and a lot of jazz-fusion. I might have even been listening to Alison Krauss a lot.

It’s hard to say who my influences are currently. I listen to music a lot differently than I did when I was younger, and I have to say that I miss physical media, CDs especially. My car doesn’t even have a CD player anymore so everything has to be streamed digitally. In the last few years I’ve been mostly listening to pop music, but the last band to truly inspire me were ‘The Smile’ – featuring Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood. I’ve watched the recent live performances on YouTube and the quirky complex songs are quite often a mind-fuck that require complete absorption. 

3.     You had a run of very good albums from the self-titled EP, right through to ‘Emergence’ after which you were signed to Kscope, did signing for a major label put any additional pressure on you?

To be honest, they’ve always been very supportive. They’ve never tried to change us and given the type of non-mainstream music we produce they kind of knew what they were in for when they signed us. I work closely with Johnny Wilks from the label who is a fantastic source of help when I ask him to scrutinise the album demos. 

4.     Your initial sound was described as being progressive but the new album ‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ is definitely more intense and hard rock oriented (in my opinion), is that a natural evolution of the band’s sound or was it intentional?

It’s a natural evolution because we’ve found that the heavier music is more enjoyable to play live due to its intensity. However, we still have a wide range of musical styles that we enjoy writing in. In fact, we recorded 7 other songs that were not as heavy as the other material on the album which we purposely left out because they didn’t necessarily fit with the vibe of the album. Three of those songs are included on the bonus track ‘Crushed’ while the other 4 tracks will be released over the course of the next 12 months. I suppose you could say that these tracks showcase the gentler side of Godsticks.

5.     There is a lot more focus on guitar riffs and a dissonant edge, do you think this will transfer into a live arena particularly well and are you looking forward to getting out there and unleashing the new music on your fans?

Always! Every time we write a song we try to imagine what it would sound like live. Not that we would impose any restrictions on ourselves by reducing the instruments/overdubs etc but we simply imagine what we would like to hear if we were the ones in an audience. It’s important for a song to have some sort of physical impact upon me, which is usually manifested with a vigorous head-nodding!

6.     Is the new album a lot different to your last, ‘Inescapable’? You say that the writing process was different with a lot more collaboration with other band members?

Each album has resulted in more and more input from each member. I’m the main songwriter primarily because I find it almost impossible to come up with good vocal melodies over ideas that other people have written, which is a shame because Gavin often comes up with some great riffs. But Godsticks music has always been about textures as well as riffs, and the parts that Gavin comes up with on synth and guitar are integral to the songs and enhance them in a way that I would likely be unable to do.

Tom also ‘hides the seams’ between seemingly disparate sections of music, and without his ingenious drum parts the songs would sound very different indeed, and worse for it.

7.     How do you go about writing a Godsticks track, what influences the creative process? 

Usually, things start with a guitar riff or drum beat and I take it from there. A lot of ideas emerge from either studying music, practising or transcribing things. It’s usually when I least want to be distracted from the task in hand that inspiration strikes. 

Sometimes, although it’s very rare these days, I’ll get inspired by a new band or song which I love. The last occasion something creative happened like that was when I watched a live show of ‘The Smile’ – I was so blown away by the music that I felt inspired to sit at the piano and write something. That track ‘Crushed’ features on the bonus disc.

8.     How did you cope with the lockdown? A lot of musicians I know have actually said that they found the whole period to be very creative and have come up with a lot of new ideas?

Well, I experienced the opposite sadly. I never wrote a single piece of music during the lockdown period. I tried to force it but in truth, most of it was poor.

That’s not to say that I didn’t make use of the downtime. I spent all my time either studying or practising and even began delving into the world of electronics and having zoom conversations with expert amp builders. 

I also began reading books on synth programming and understanding exactly how they worked. That episode will definitely benefit our music in the future.  

9.     Obviously, due to the pandemic, you couldn’t play live after you released ‘Inescapable’, how frustrating did you find that?

It was incredibly disappointing as you can imagine, but at the same time the fact the world was a little bit strange to say the least put things in perspective a little. Then as the pandemic dragged on we started to worry if there would even be any venues or promoters in business when the world eventually re-opened its doors.

So whilst it was frustrating, that feeling was eventually subsumed by relief that things could finally get back to a state of normality.

10.  I know most musicians will say that their current release is their favourite but do you hold any of your previous albums in particular regard and, if so, why? 

I would say ‘Emergence’ is probably the most important of our albums, as it heralded the future sound of the band. At the time of its release, It may have seemed like an abrupt left turn in terms of heaviness but I think the overall sound and vibe of that album proved that this was our natural sound.

11.  Who would you consider to be the best live act today and one you would pay to go and see?

Meshuggah! I’m desperate to see them play live. The last time the opportunity arose the nearest place they were playing was Bristol, but I absolutely hated the particular venue they were playing, so didn’t go.

12.  What’s next for Godsticks or are you just concentrating on getting the new album out and playing it live?

Our sole focus at this time is rehearsing the new music to perform live at our upcoming shows in June. Then it’s just a question of how many gigs we can successfully put together and how many festivals that will welcome us.

13.  What do you do to relax away from music?

Most of my life is taken up by music, whether that’s practising, studying or writing, but in the evening times I like to watch TV. I’m a big fan of shows like ‘Succession’, anything HBO, and stand-up comedy. I also like to read non-fiction books on biology and history.

14.  Finally, what, if any, advice would you give to that younger version of yourself who was just about to release the debut EP in 2009 now you have been on the rollercoaster for 14 years?

As someone with an aversion to reading manuals and instead intuitively fumbling there way around new technology, whether that’s creating synth sounds or learning how to use my gear, I would advise myself to take the time to learn the technology you’re surrounded with, especially production techniques. These are often invaluable tools to assist with your creativity. That’s something I’ve changed my approach to in the last 3 years or so, and these days I look forward to reading a manual!

‘This Is What A Winner Looks Like’ is released 26th May, 2023 on Kscope

Order the album here:


Listen to the track Mayhem: