Sound — 9
I was at first a little skeptical when I was informed that "Stone Gods" were essentially what was left of "The Darkness" after Justin Hawkins left the group. I was initially, in my younger days, a big The Darkness fan, but as I got older, Hawkins' novelty falsetto became old very fast, and by the second album, "One Way Ticket to Hell... And Back!" it became almost irritating. However, it couldn't be denied that the bands overdriven guitars and their overall Rock 'n Roll sound was something widely missing in the music industry at the time. I was most impressed to learn, when I first heard "Silver Spoons and Broken Bones" that Stone Gods sound was what The Darkness could have been. An altogether heavier outfit than their previous attempt, Richie Edwards, the former Bassist of The Darkness, took over the mantle of front man from the flamboyant Hawkins, and whilst his voice could be referred to as a generic Rock voice, it adds an new edge to the sound that The Darkness was always lacking. The role of Lead Guitarist was taken on by Dan Hawkins, always overshadowed by his brother in The Darkness, but his skill is comparable of that of his sibling. There is much more variety in the guitar parts of Stone Gods. Whilst they still rely on the riff driven sound, there are many different sounds going on throughout the album. For instance, the Caribbean breakdown in "Don't Drink the Water" has an almost ska feel to it, something that the very much glam rock The Darkness would never have gone near.
Lyrics — 8
As mentioned before, Richie Edwards has a solid, if not overly individual vocal sound, which fits the overall no frills feel of the band. It is encouraging to hear though, that despite the departure of Justin Hawkins, the band has kept the wit that The Darkness very much relied on, but the difference here is that the comedic lyrics are part of an altogether bigger whole. The lyrics as a whole are refreshingly unpretetnious, and easy to relate to. The entertaining story telling used in songs such as "Don't Drink the Water" and "Wasting Time" contrasts well with the more conventional chorus driven tracks such as "Burn the Witch" and "Start of Something."
Overall Impression — 8
Obviously, when looking at anything produced by Stone Gods or "Hot Leg" (the new band of Justin Hawkins,) it is innevitable that comparisons are going to be drawn with The Darkness. While on some levels this is understandable, it is also a little unfair on Stone Gods when you listen to their record. They have an altogether more Hard Rock feel, while the obvious The Darkness influences are there, they have clearly moved away from the Glam Rock gimmick that the Darkness was based on. Don't get me wrong, on certain occassions and for certain moods there is nothing better thatn a bit of The Darkness, but in my opinion, Stone Gods is an altogether more endearing and less irritating beast than the Darkness ever was. An, in my opinion, very strong debut album from the Stone Gods shows an altogether more bearable future for the British Rock 'n Roll industry. If you came here looking for The Darkness repackaged, you may be a bit dissappointed, but if you were looking for good, witty Hard Rock, this album won't dissappoint.