Stone Gods (Featuring Former Members Of The Darkness) = The British Audioslave?
Download: The Darkness - "Is It Just Me?" (from One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back!")
Download: The Darkness - "Hazel Eyes" (from One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back!")
Download: The Darkness - "English Country Garden" (from One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back!")
Download: The Darkness - "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)" (B-Side)
Download: The Darkness - "Street Spirit" (Live, Radiohead Cover)
Download: The Darkness - "Growing On Me" (from Permission To Land)
Download: The Darkness - "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" (from Permission To Land)
Download: The Darkness - "Friday Night" (from Permission To Land)
Download: The Darkness - "Grief Hammer" (B-Side)
Download: The Darkness - "Makin' Out" (B-Side)
Whenever a famous group splits up, acrimoniously or amicably, it's members usually have one hell of a condrummer to face when moving onto their new post-band break-up projects: they have to assert their own musical identity, to a degree where their fans and critics won't accuse them of merely recycling their past; also, to remind aforementioned aficionados and skeptics of how they got to the position of being able to judge their favorite musician's new work in the first place.
The Darkness are a rock and roll cautionary tale, if there were ever was one. It's not entirely surprising that, of the two acts to spawn out of The Darkness' demise, one would fully embrace certain elements of The Darkness' sounds while the other completely turns their back on it.
Download: Justin Hawkins - "Do It In The Dark"
We'll start off with former Darkness singer's Justin Hawkins new single, "Do It In The Dark", a song designed for a website that encourages responsible energy consumption. Good for Hawkins. The partnership is a great idea: the political group gets to show that it has a sense of humor, while Hawkins gets to show that he's more than the guy whose former band had a video where a pterydactol humped a spaceship.
The problem lies with Hawkness taking all the aspects that made The Darkness great and - ribald humor, campy vocals and shredding guitar solos, huge hooks - and making them even more over-the-top, to the point of being almost shrill. Simply put, at the beginning of the song, Hawkins sounds like he's trying to regurgitate his lungs and the Def Leppard-style vocal overdubs aren't endearing either. The main riff has a nice, treble-heavy, AC/DC sheen to it, and some of the lyrics are very clever (the line “I wanna lay you out in Quark /I wanna do it in the dark" is absolutely genius). But even though "Do It In The Dark" is only 2 minutes, the song still needs to dial it down, for the sake of reducing energy consumption - both Hawkins' and the Earth's.
Stream: Stone Gods - "Burn The Witch"
Meanwhile, the Stone Gods (consisting of former Darkness members Dan Hawkins, Ritchie Edwards and Ed Graham, along with recruited bassist Toby McFarlaine) sound like they are attempting to disavow any trace of irony or tongue-in-cheek humor that were preset in The Darkness. No doubt that this in order to convey the impression that the are "Serious Rock Band." Take a look at the photo at the top of this post. How much more black can it be? The answer is none. None more black. If that's not enough evidence for you, then the the press material on the recently launched Stone Gods website, which states that the Stone Gods is "an entirely tougher, edgier and heavier beast than their former band", should suffice.
No one would dispute that when listening to the opening moments of "Burn The Witch", the new song streaming at the band's website and MySpace Page. The opening lick, and the chord progression beneath it, has a little minor-key, NWOBHM thing going on before setting into a more generic, sludgy blues riff that perks up a little bit due at the end of the phrase due to some Aerosmith-style syncopation.
It's unfair to judge Stone Gods based on a clip of a song that's a little over a minute in length, but, so far, the band sounds like they're trying too hard to convey solemnity. Rather than being powerful, it comes off as just being humorless. We'll have to wait and see what more the band has to offer. If the band writes even one halfway decent song, they could become the British Audioslave.
Stone Gods MySpace Page
Justin Hawkins' New Project MySpace Page
You can find a bunch of The Darkness MP3s at the top of the post, including b-sides.