Godsmack – When Legends Rise

It’s been nearly four years since 1000hp, GODSMACK’S last full-length. I quite enjoyed much of that album, especially after repeat listens. If you remember, I was ready to give up on this band at one point till they won me back with 2010’s The Oracle, and killer live shows on two tours in a row. I’m not sure they will ever come to the near-perfection of their self-titled debut, but new disc When Legends Rise (April 27, BMG) is pretty damn close. A bit of a change stylistically, with much catchier tunes, the boys sound free of any and all constraints; like they don’t give a shit what you think, they’re gonna write what moves THEM, and worry about pleasing themselves first. Hey, they’ve earned that right, wouldn’t you agree?

One thing I noticed right away is the anthemic quality of many of the choruses. Case in point, opener and title track “When Legends Rise.” Starting off with some tribal drums from Shannon Larkin, guitarist Tony Rombola then comes in playing one of the coolest melodies I’ve ever heard from him. When the whole band kicks in and we get to the refrain, vocalist Sully Erna sounds truly inspired. The same can be said for “Every Part of Me” and “Take It to the Edge.” These are tunes that were born to be shared live, which is what I hope happens on this summer’s tour that I will be eagerly attending.

But the real star of the show is “Under Your Scars.” A piano driven affair, when (not if…WHEN) this one is released as a single expect it to explode like a supernova. In all my years of listening to GODSMACK I can truly say this is a Top 5 song for me, it’s simply beautiful. As far as kickass guitar rockers with soaring choruses go, you could certainly do a lot worse than “Someday”, and “Just One Time”, two more album favorites, the latter having even flexing a bit of bluesy muscle. “Say My Name” is four-on-the-floor stuff quite similar to the sound of the previous disc, not like that’s necessarily a bad thing, while “Bulletproof” is a very different song for the band. I originally questioned its release as a leadoff single, but I get it now.

The groove machine is all warmed up for “Let It Out”, and Erna once again is showing off a set of pipes I didn’t know he had on him up till now. Closer “Eye of the Storm” caps things off perfectly, and this is one that is guaranteed to get you rocking and up out of your seat while you’re at your office, or have you bobbing your head while driving your forklift. Man, at the end of the day THIS is the GODSMACK album I’ve been wanting for years. I love the renewed energy and sense of purpose the band seems to have, and the fact the hooks are hookier while sacrificing none of the balls that have made them arena rock mainstays is just icing on the cake. When Legends Rise is definitely a record these boys can be, and should be proud of.

STANDOUT TRACKS: “When Legends Rise”, “Someday”, “Every Part of Me”, “Just One Time”, “Under Your Scars”, “Eye of the Storm”

RATING: 9/10

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