Eagerly awaited since their last album '1000hp' in 2014, Godsmack make a welcome return with their seventh output, 'When Legends Rise'.
Their first effort since leaving Republic Records and joining the ranks of BMG, the band enlisted Erik Ron for production duties- a relatively young dude that already has credits for records from the likes of New Years Day, Motionless in White and Panic! at the Disco; and although vocalist Sully Erna set the cat amongst the pigeons when announcing that 'When Legends Rise' would be a shift in direction- you have to say that Ron's work on this record is absolutely stellar, as he has made it sound incredibly huge.
Moving away from their traditional heavy metal sound, Godsmack head into hard rock territory while focusing a lot more on melody, and while this reinvention will upset many hardcore fans, there will be a whole lot of new followers emerge, if they haven't already based on the infectious lead single 'Bulletproof'- which dropped in February.
The first half of the ten-track album is absolutely incredible, led by pounding riffs, catchy grooves, arena-sized drumming and outstanding choruses, with the title track, 'Bulletproof' and 'Unforgettable' opening proceedings with precision and hard rock power.
'Every Part of Me' and 'Take It to the Edge' feature choruses that are impossible not to sing along to, in fact any of the opening five songs (especially) could easily be a single; attacking the rock charts and making a play for coveted number one spots all around the globe.
Perhaps the most surprising track is 'Under Your Scars', which Erna has already mentioned as a ballad that takes Godsmack somewhat out of their comfort zone. Well, simply put, get the tissues out because 'Under Your Scars' is a heart-wrenching number that features a dominating chorus and a guitar solo straight out of the 80s, all underneath some of the most commanding vocals we've heard from Erna in quite some time.
The second half of the record still slams hard, with 'Say My Name' and 'Let It Out' standing out with some gritty guitar work, proving that Godsmack's decision to try something new really has paid off in leaps and bounds.
Erna, guitarist Tony Rombola, bassist Robbie Merrill and drummer Shannon Larkin have produced one of the best records of 2018, and with a back catalogue of platinum-selling records and highly successful singles- 'When Legends Rise' deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as 'Awake' and 'Faceless'; while 'Bulletproof', 'Every Part of Me' and 'Under Your Scars' most certainly are as good as 'I Stand Alone', 'Greed' and 'Moon Baby'.
Don't expect Godsmack to bring you a record that harks back to past glories, just listen to 'When Legends Rise' with an open mind and witness a consistently brilliant band making music that is deeper, in some ways harder, and in a lot of ways better than anything they have produced in their 20+ year career thus far.
'When Legends Rise' is out April 27 via BMG.