[ALBUM REVIEW] Godsmack – When Legends Rise

WHEN LEGENDS RISE TRACKLISTING

When Legends Rise
Bulletproof
Unforgettable
Every Part Of Me
Take It To The Edge
Under Your Scars
Someday
Just One Time
Say My Name
Let It Out
Eye Of The Storm

Reviewed by Megan Milner

Two decades together and over 20 million albums sold has secured Godsmack as a staple in the heavy music world. The unmistakable vocal style of front man, Sully Erna at the helm, has been a fearless and devoted captain since their inception. Fans have been waiting eagerly for a follow up to 2014s effort 1000hp and although heavy consistency runs strong throughout their catalogue we see Godsmack venture to new waters on their seventh studio album, ‘When Legends Rise’. 

Erna explains “I think we want to get away from being lumped into the metal crowd. I think we’re coming a lot more back to our roots now, so on the new record, I think we’re going to try to mix things up and get to a place where we’re not going to hurt the integrity of the band but maybe go in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction.”

The album kicks off in a huge way with the title track and second released single When Legends Rise. If this is any indication of the direction of the album fans will not be able to wipe the grin off their faces! Big choruses forged to be sung in front of live audiences remain a strong staple within this track. An audio excerpt from the movie ‘Tombstone’ creates a perfect build up to some explosive drumming from Shannon Larkin.

Once listeners have only just whipped their heads back from rocking out to the title track, we are thrown into the first single Bulletproof. This was the first song on the album recorded with producer Erik Ron (Panic at the Disco, Motionless in White, Attila). The band were so happy with the way this song turned out they chose to work with Ron for the entire album. There’s no mistaking why they were so happy with the Californian producer, this song is so beautifully put together that it will have you singing by the last chorus. There’s a Director’s Cut video online which shows they still enjoy themselves as a band while not taking anything too seriously. 

The big choruses continue through Unforgettable with enough “woah oh’s” to get any crowd chanting at the top of their lungs.

When I first saw the name of the next track, Every Part of Me I was prepared for a ballad. Although I was pleasantly surprised, and happens to be my favourite track of the album. The way Erna twists his voice from grit to clean is what has made him an unmistakable vocalist. We hear a little more from guitarist Tony Rombola, whilst the song could’ve easily got away with a beefier guitar solo we get a taste of the potential. 

Godsmack have always had a knack of making music that would be perfect for a football replay, a wrestling intro or any sporting match that involves one hell of a motivating soundtrack. (lets face it, all sports!) This rings true in Take It To the Edge. Enough hard rock attitude to inspire the listener time and time again. Erna’s vocals seem to work in perfect synchronisation with Larkin’s drumming, which is only grown through being band mates for well over a decade.

I may been mistaken previously anticipating a ballad, the time has finally come. Under Your Scars flows effortlessly from the opening verse. The addition of strings and piano complement the track beautifully, especially during the guitar solo which has to be a stand out on the album. These are lyrics we have all heard before, based on love, reaching out for answers to loves questions of feeling needed. 

The palate cleanser Someday kicks in and it somewhat removes the previous track from your memory. The album is back on the incline! 

The intro to Just One More Time instantly gave me the mental image of Rombolla and bassist Robbie Merrill front and centre counting in the track. The sheer amount of catchy riffs in this album is extremely impressive. As much as I tried to fight it, the chorus reminded me far too much of In This Moment’s Black Wedding featuring Rob Halford. I believe this track is going to be a big contender for the stand out track for a lot of listeners!

Although they agreed they would take on a hard rock edge to this album, Say My Name is extremely evident of their original flare. The guitar work behind the vocals throughout the chorus gives the track a heavier feel than most. As Erna drawls out ‘down, down, down’  you just know the crowd will be up and off their feet! 

Coming to the end of the album, it’s only natural to feel as though it will begin to wind down. Let It Out yells right in your face that the Massachusetts boys are not done yet! This track screams out that it will be a potential next single. The hooks within the chorus and bridge capture a damn fine hard rock track. 

Eye Of The Storm rounds out the 11 tracks and kicks off strong! The kind of rock track that makes your top lip curl into a snarl and the head cannot deny rocking along. Although by this point I am feeling confused as to which chorus is which, it’s no doubt they have a formula in which they stick to. Larkin, Rombola and Merrill drive this album home as the track fades to thunder. 

Godsmack sure as hell know how to write a catchy rock track. Whether you know the band from seminal tracks such as I Stand Alone or Awake, their sound has remained consistent and that alone deserves merit. I feel as though a large portion of this album was made to be played live. We haven’t seen them on our shores since Soundwave Festival 2015 where they were almost blown off the stage by an incoming storm in Sydney! There’s not a doubt in my mind that fans will rush to absorb the new material and whilst the album doesn’t necessarily harness any huge surprises, they should be rest assured they will receive an unmistakable Godsmack album with all the fixings! 

‘When Legends Rise’ drops April 27th through Spinefarm Records!