I’m on my fourth listen to 1000hp, the first album of new material from GODSMACK in over four years and it finally hit me. GODSMACK has been that band whose albums got worse and worse but I kept buying the records, hoping things would change. Basically GODSMACK was Lucy with the football, and I was Charlie Brown running to kick it only to wind up on my ass…again. And truth be told, after the debacle that was IV I was ready to throw in the towel on these guys, but 2010’s The Oracle was a great album from start to finish. Then you factor in that they blew EVERYBODY away live on Mayhem Fest ’11 and followed that up with one of the most energetic live albums I’ve heard in a while and I really thought they had turned the corner. But on this one I felt like something was missing the first few listens. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, though. And then, like I said, it hit me. I just needed to crank this fucker!!
You’ll sense a chomping-at-the-bit urgency, particularly in the opening puncher “1000hp” which really makes a statement that the boys from Boston are back, Sully Erna screaming, “Turn that shit up louder!” with conviction. Another one that will turn some heads is the rather “Orion”-esque in places “Nothing Comes Easy”, as will the sprawling number “Generation Day”. What makes these songs great is they show a band getting out of their comfort zone and really stretching themselves as writers and musicians. Of course Tony Rombola’s guitar is thick, rich, and evil in all the right places, but it’s nice to see him pulling something new out on these. At the same time “FML” has that classic GODSMACK sound that many have come to know and love. Personally I found this one to be TOO familiar, although Mini-Amps would clearly disagree with me, judging by how hard he’s rockin’ out as we speak.
Another enjoyable tune was “Something Different’, especially the beginning. And as far as a galloping rocker goes, you’ve got it in “What’s Next”, one I certainly hope they do live on the Rockstar Uproar Tour. But one of Sully’s best performances comes with “Livin’ in the Gray”; he really lets fly on this one. And if you feel yourself getting dizzy from this crazy ride, well…pop some Dramamine because we’re not done yet! “I Don’t Belong” is one of the strongest tracks on the disc, Robbie Merrill’s bass and Shannon Larkin’s drums real high up in the mix while Sully’s voice meshes perfectly with Tony’s riffs, and the solo is lights-out. Not that it’s a shred-fest or anything; its power is in its feel and texture.
“Locked and Loaded” and closer “Turning to Stone” are like a ratty old t-shirt or pair of sweats you’ve had for years and you won’t throw away because they just fit right, and are oh-so-comfortable, which is the best way to describe them. It’s classic GODSMACK, the kind you wanna hear on your drive to work or drinking on the back deck, like I do. I really thought that I wasn’t gonna like 1000hp, but once I turned that shit up louder I realized just how solid a record this is. Welcome back, boys. Try not to stay away so long next time, huh?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Livin’ in the Gray”, “Nothing Comes Easy”, “Something Different”, “I Don’t Belong”, “What’s Next”