ARMED with a hit-laden debut album, The Darkness found themselves in the limelight with their infectious brand of unashamedly glammed-up classic rock. Their swagger was matched with success as they quickly gained a tally of three Brit Awards, which prompted headline festival slots and global tours that delivered a loyal international following.

As guitarist Dan Hawkins explains, it’s been one heck of a ride over nearly two decades, emerging triumphant over naysayers dismissing them for their clear influences of heroes such as Queen, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. While he admits that in true rock ‘n’ roll spirit they’ve endured their share of trials - including member departures and a split for several years - it seems they are now enjoying life as a re-united band more than ever.

These days, they are joined by Rufus Taylor, son of Queen’s Roger Taylor, on drums, who joined their ranks four years ago.

Deftly demonstrating their renewed spark is their epic sixth studio album, Easter is Cancelled, described by frontman Justin Hawkins as a concept record that’s “biblical” in scale. It’s seen them make a welcome return to the top 10 charts, with a collection of catchy riffs resounding with confidence.

The album is accompanied by a tour of the UK and Ireland, which visits Watford Colosseum on Wednesday, December 11.

Guitarist Dan Hawkins said: “I’ve a slightly different take on the album to the other members as I produced it, as I have done with our past few records. With the previous albums, I’d be listening back to them looking out for any mistakes, but that really wasn’t the case with our latest one. I think it sounds amazing.”

Their latest album, recorded and mixed at the guitarist’s self built Hawkland studio in Sussex, contains a number of standout moments including the crowd-pleasing ballad Heart Explodes, hard rock tribute in the form of Heavy Metal Lover, and the defiant closing song We Are the Guitar Men.

Dan said: “

It’s about as close as we’re ever going to get to making a concept album, with a definite thread of subjects covering life and death, and how we bring meaning to them.”

Beyond laying down their latest recordings, they’ve certainly not been slacking off on the live performances – enjoying performances last year with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp’s band, The Hollywood Vampires. According to Dan, it was something of a surreal moment to be hanging out with some of the most famous musicians on the planet.

He said: “Our lives are pretty insane really – it was amazing to be playing those shows. I’m not someone that gets starstruck, but with Johnny Depp I actually felt a bit freaked out that we were just hanging out with him. But after talking to him backstage for about half an hour, he was actually pretty down to earth.”

Another major highlight from this summer was their invitation to join fellow Suffolk-raised star Ed Sheeran on his UK tour dates.

Dan said: “Ed was very affable indeed – he’d come and see us before and after our shows, which was nice.

“In a world where we have things like Brexit and Trump, thank goodness that we’ve got Ed Sheeran,” adds Dan, who at 42, says that life in Sussex with his family, which now includes three children, is treating him very finely indeed.

“I’ve been a dad for 10 years now and it’s the best thing ever,” adds the guitarist.

As he reflects on his career to date, he acknowledges the band’s success was hard-won through paying their dues for years on the live circuit.

“Before we got our deal, nobody wanted to sign us, including the label who eventually did. It was a long wait for us to make it – I was 27 and actually at the point where I thought we’d missed our chance. So Justin and I just thought we’d form a band playing the music that we wanted to play,” which would finally see their determination pay off, after self-financing their debut singles.

In terms of overall highlights, he says that while gaining the Brit Awards was something to celebrate at the time, it was subsequently gaining an Ivor Novello songwriting award that meant even more.

As for the present day, he enthuses that there will be plenty for fans to enjoy this time around, mixing their new material alongside a greatest hits set.

“It’s going to be really good to be playing some material we’ve not played before, and the whole thing about this being a concept album will be answered on this tour,” said Dan of what we can expect from one of rock music’s great survivors as they continue boldly on their journey.

Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, Wednesday, December 11, 7pm. Details: 01923 571102