THE STONE GODS – Silver Spoons & Broken Bones (2008)
…and from the ashes of the beast came The Stone Gods, and they did lay waste to the land.
The “beast” from whose ashes that the Gods rose was The Darkness, an extremely talented band who were looked upon (either fairly or unfairly, you decide) as a novelty act. They split in twain, with singer Justin Hawkins forming the very Darkness-sounding Hot Leg. The rest of the band (guitarist and brother Dan Hawkins, drummer Ed Graham, and bassist Richie Edwards) stuck it out and renamed themselves The Stone Gods. Edwards, a fine singer in his own right, dropped the bass and became the frontman. New member Toby MacFarlaine was brought in on bass.
What makes this band special is twofold. First, there is the undeniable writing talents of Dan and the band, proving that Justin was not the be-all and end-all of the Darkness. Two is the voice of Richie Edwards. He truly has his own unique voice, something unusual in today’s soundalike music scene. It is part Bon Scott, part Halford, with a little bit of early raspy Joe Elliot thrown in, and 100% awesome. As a frontman, he was no Justin, but who is?
The band themselves stuck solidly to a heavy metal direction. Ed Graham plays his trademark caveman drum fills and it fits like a glove. Dan’s guitar howls and shrieks like a thing possessed. Above it all, Richie wails. These are heavy metal songs. You won’t mistake that right from the opening metal riffage of “Burn The Witch”. And you can’t mistake these lyrics for anything but pure rock.
My friends have all joined the rat race
It’s all suits, shirts and novelty ties
I’m not a fan of retirement plans
I refuse to change my way of life
Just about every song here is a winner, very few losers. It is important to note, however, that the album takes a turn for the lighter around the halfway point. Indeed, the first three songs are a pure metal bludgeon, after that, some more early-Def Leppard moments are thrown in (“Making It Hard”). However it is never out of place, never too soft, never embarrassing It is simply a good, well rounded rock album with light and shade.
It’s great that The Darkness are back together, and I rated Hot Cakes very highly. I do miss these guys though. A second album would have been something.