New British band Stone Gods are essentially The Darkness, minus frontman Justin Hawkins and with Toby MacFarlaine as a new member.

The Darkness split in 2006, causing Justin Hawkins to become depressed and seek counselling.

Meanwhile, his brother - guitarist Dan hawkins - asked the band's bass player Richie Edwards if he was interested in becoming lead singer of a new band.

Richie agreed, and with The Darkness drummer Ed Graham formed Stone Gods, bringing in Toby MacFarlaine as bass player. Richie Edwards, who played bass for The Darkness, now plays lead guitar in the new band.

Stone Gods released their debut album "Silver Spoons and Broken Bones" on 7th July.....

Stone Gods - Silver Spoons & Broken Bones (Stone Gods) UK release date: 7 July 2008

Stone Gods, formed from the ashes of The Darkness

Stone Gods are:

Richie Edwards: Vocals, Guitar
Dan Hawkins Guitar
Toby MacFarlaine - Bass
Ed Graham - Drums

A case of out of The Darkness and into the light?

Dan Hawkins will be hoping so. Justin's brother, or more fairly one of the two principal creative forces behind the Darkness, rocks his way back into contention with this, the first fruits of his work with bass player Richie Edwards and drummer Ed Graham. They've even got their own label, so no danger of musical differences this time - but they're clearly keen to preserve their previous identity, with the link to the old Darkness website now pointed straight at the Stone Gods.

It doesn't take long to realise they mean business either. "Foul play, mark of the devil" cries Edwards as Burn The Witch makes its presence felt. All lyrics are bound to be scrutinised for traces of animosity or other feeling between Dan and Justin, but the impression here is that the Darkness have been left far behind.

They certainly have musically. This rocks in a different, much more serious way, and though the parody isn't as blindingly obvious there's a huge helping of what used to be known as 'hairdryer rock'. Edwards has more than a passing similarity to Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot in the vocal department, and so that comparison is inevitable even before the big drums make their presence felt.

Led Zeppelin, too, are a big influence. Hawkins' thrilling guitar virtuosity is still present, again used in context of the song rather than for self-gratification. But there's no doubt the songs are lacking that final touch that would make them big rock anthems.

Powerful choruses abound for sure, and the band sound confident and assured in the darkness to light of Defend Or Die. "You brought a knife to a gunfight, so **** you!" they cry in the next song - dismissing their target with ease. But while this is impressive bravado, there's little of that sense of humour we used to love from The Darkness. But then again, why should the Stone Gods do the predictable thing?

There are some touches of humour, but they are heavily signposted and hackneyed. The brief calypso interlude in Don't Drink The Water is a criminal offence, which would be funny were it not rather too earnest.

This is for fans only you might suspect - and those rare specimens who've had a long sabbatical since the power rock of the 1980s and want a new band to get into. Live they're bound to be strongly entertaining, but on record it all sounds like a retread of twenty year old rock. That said, you can't help but admire at the forthright way in which it's delivered.

Track listing
  1. "Burn The Witch" - 4:44
  2. "Don't Drink The Water" - 2:47
  3. "Defend Or Die" - 4:58
  4. "You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight" - 3:07
  5. "Magdalene Street" - 3:56
  6. "Where You Coming From" - 3:12
  7. "Lazy Bones" - 3:57
  8. "I'm With The Band" - 4:16
  9. "Start Of Something" - 3:29
  10. "Makin' It Hard" - 3:12
  11. "Wasting Time" - 3:24
  12. "Knight Of The Living Dead" - 4:22
  13. "Oh Where 'O My Beero" - 4:14