20 years since the release of their debut album and 20 million worldwide sales later, GODSMACK are an even stronger animal than before. The proof is in the grooves of WHEN LEGENDS RISE, their first studio outing in four years, due out April 27th via Spinefarm Records.
The album is available for pre-order now, along with instant grat track, ‘Bulletproof’; this first single / video shows the band – Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill [bass] and Shannon Larkin [drums] – doubling down on their combination of tightly wound riffs, rhythmic fury, naked emotions and pushed-to-the-edge vocals, all fired up with melodic precision and tight songcraft.
“It was just about evolving as a songwriter,” says singer / songwriter Erna. “I wanted to stretch my wings even further, to use all of the experiences I’ve had writing different types of music over the years and apply that to finding a way to introduce a newer, fresher, more mature sound, whilst still maintaining the power of Godsmack.”
WHEN LEGENDS RISE, the band’s seventh studio album, was recorded at their headquarters (GSHQ) in Derry, New Hampshire, and produced by Erik Ron and Erna. Sonically intense and layered, it pushes the band forward, kicking off with the title track which begins with tribal-style drums and lethal riffs.
‘When Legends Rise’ speaks to “the band and our journey,” says Erna. “It’s been an amazing road we have travelled through all the ups and downs. But being able to conquer those challenging times with alcohol and egos and everything else that can tear a band apart is what we are the most proud of. To be able to stand strong again and do it better than we ever have. It’s about burning it down and building it back up. It’s the Phoenix rising from the ashes!”
Emotions run strong on ‘Bulletproof’. Continues Erna:
“I always write about things that have affected me on an emotional level. I think everyone knows that about me by now. But if I choose to do that, I have to be prepared to be honest and vulnerable. And so the challenge is figuring out how ‘exposed’ you want to be with personal information. But I’ve also learnt over the years that, for me, being transparent, even to the point of embarrassment sometimes, is so much better than holding it inside and extending that pain longer than you need to. ‘Bulletproof’ is just another moment in my life when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and got hurt. It’s this kind of carelessness from other people that eventually hardens you and forces you to put up that wall to protect yourself. So when and if they circle back around and try to get back in, you make yourself bulletproof.”
Another album standout is the anthemic ‘Unforgettable’ with its towering, massive sound and some special vocal guests.
“It’s my favourite song on the record,” reveals Erna. “I work with an organisation called C.A.T.S. (Community Alliance for Teen Safety) that focusses on helping young kids stay on the right path, so I invited a bunch of kids from the Derry Middle Schools of New Hampshire to sing with me, which I feel really brought this song over the top! They were incredible, and the song is Unforgettable!!”
Another highlight of WHEN LEGENDS RISE is the powerful string-laden ballad ‘Under Your Scars’.
“I come from a very broad background in music,” reflects Erna. “My great uncle was a famous composer in Sicily, and my dad is still a musician and runs an Italian band in the Boston area. So as I’ve grown over the years as an artist, I’ve regressed back to ALL TYPES of music and instruments I love working and composing with. So I called upon my dear friend Irina Chirkova to lay down the cello parts, and Zvezdelina Haltakova (both from Bulgaria) did all the violin parts for me. And I really feel that this specific track will be something people will gravitate towards since it’s the first real ballad we’ve put on a Godsmack record. I think, like it or not, they will gravitate towards it to explore it out of curiosity. But again, it’s about taking risks and expanding.”
WHEN LEGENDS RISE follows the success of 2014’s ‘1,000 HP’, which entered the Top Billboard 200 chart at #3, with two #1 debuts (Billboard Top Alternative Albums: #1 Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums: #1).
One of rock’s most explosive live acts, GODSMACK will perform at a series of US festivals this spring / summer, followed by a major outdoor amphitheatre tour, then a return to the UK & Europe later in 2018.
WHEN LEGENDS RISE track-listing is as follows:
‘When Legends Rise’
‘Every Part Of Me’
‘Take It To The Edge’
‘Under Your Scars’
‘Just One Time’
‘Say My Name’
‘Let It Out’
‘Eye Of The Storm’