Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Album Reviews; Godsmack - 1000Hp

Track Listing:

1. 1000hp
2. FML
3. Something Different
4. What's Next?
5. Generation Day
6. Locked & Loaded
7. Living In The Gray
8. I Don't Belong
9. Nothing Comes Easy
10. Turning To Stone

Godsmack are one of two main bands that started me down the road of Hard Rock and Metal music, the other being Motorhead. I can easily say that the songs and lyrics of their back catalogue are tattooed onto my brain. While this fact rings very true, as a reviewer I must remain relatively impartial and critical in my approach to writing about this album.

The album opens with a tribute to Godsmack's formative and rising years in the form of a self-titled song that channels the spirit of Aerosmith and mixes it with the right-hook style that Godsmack are famous for. Doubtlessly, this song will make heads bang and voices blow out among the fanbase, and the almost party-like vibe is nice to hear from a band that often carry a darker lyrical theme.

'FML' does have the familiar feel of more classic Godsmack songs like 'Changes' or 'Sick Of Life', and has a trademark Sully Erna vocal hook. It's very satisfying to hear that they can deliver a song of this ilk this far into their career. Is it on the same level as the songs I cited in comparison? Not quite, but it's better than a lot of the songs on the previous album 'The Oracle' were.

'Something Different' is just that. Yes, Godsmack have plenty of ballads under their belt, but the use of a string section and even the vocal melody carry an air of influence that may easily have been carried over from Sully Erna's solo record. This new take on the Godsmack sound range is a welcome guest that helps turn this song into something memorable and affecting. 'What's Next?' has a sound, rhythm and even a riff that calls back to the first two albums, and does so well.

'Generation Day' is without a doubt the catchiest track on the record, and could simply be described as Godsmack at their best and hookier than a fisherman's lure case. Shannon Larkin gets to show a bit more flair on the kit during a mid-song fall-away that leaves him a lot of room for fills, though his performance on the album thus far is as impressive as one would expect.

The next song is 'Locked & Loaded', has the lyrical themes that show the streetwise attitude of Boston, with an air of trash-talking. The song as a whole is not the greatest that the band have ever written, and doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. 'Living In The Gray' has solid riffs from long-serving guitarist Tony Rombola and a solid bass line from Robbie Merrill. There's even more catchy vocal lines, but it's the percussive punctuation that Shannon Larkin brings to the fray that carries the song to an even higher peak.

The song 'I Don't Belong' has more lyrical melancholy; the verses are strong enough, but the chorus can sound rather juvenile, which leaves the song feeling like a misstep, which is a shame because the music itself is strong enough, the idea is just poorly executed. A bluesy guitar solo doesn't do much to save it, either. 'Nothing Comes Easy' features a surprisingly rapid, almost thrashy riff to it, and does pick the album back up after the blow of the previous song. There's a lot of breathing space in the chorus of this song which is an effective contrast to the verses, all the while Sully Erna's trademark lyrical simplicity keeps Godsmack relatable at a street level.

'Turning To Stone' is the obligatory Godsmack ballad. Tribal percussion and clean guitars will satisfy fans of the band's classic songs 'Voodoo' and 'Serenity'. The electric guitar does make an appearance, and the result is the album closing with a promise that this band are not likely to make any future steps that could alienate their fanbase.

I wouldn't say that this album is their definitive best, nor is it perfect; the production seems a bit soft in places, but this may be a personal niggle. I could've done with both the drums and the guitars being more brash and in-your-face as far as the mix goes, and it could be argued that Sully repeats himself with his lyrics. That being said, this is an album that, while it certainly doesn't stand above albums like 'Faceless' and 'Awake', it can stand back-to-back with them and not come up short by very far. A recommendable album for fans that is unlikely to sway detractors, yes. But as a fan; it's damn good to hear from them again, and this album does redeem them from the very patchy previous album.

Rating: 8/10

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