‘When Legends Rise’
2018 release from BMG.
Sully Erna – Vocals, rhythm guitar. Tony Rombola – Guitar. Robbie Merrill – Bass. Shannon Larkin – Drums.
Artist location: Massachusetts, USA.
4 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- 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.
I know, you are probably thinking, “what the hell is Godsmack doing on a melodic rock review site?” I would be wondering the same thing myself before I heard this album.
Well a friend of mine recently mentioned that I should perhaps think about branching out a bit from pure melodic rock and maybe reviewing some other genres that, while a bit different, are not completely removed from the genre that I love.
Now I am the World’s worst at listening solely to one genre, it’s not that I don’t like other music, in fact I actually have quite a wide range of stuff that I like that has nothing to do with the 80’s or melodic rock. My problem lies in the fact that I seldom pull out those other albums in different genres from my collection and listen to them again. Even more seldom are the times that I actually take the time to listen to anything new that releases outside of melodic rock, most of the stuff that I have outside of that genre has been out for years.
My friend and I have spoken at length many times on many different genres and the things we like there, so at his proposal I decided to spend a little time listening to some things that I normally would not have given the time of day.
One of the first things I gave a spin to was this album. Now I am hardly a Godsmack fan. In fact aside from maybe two songs, I have never cared at all for them. To be fair, I have never delved too deeply into their catalogue though, but the stuff I had heard had never done anything for me and I actually never cared much for Sully Erna’s voice either.
But then I heard the title track to their new album, ‘When Legends Rise’, and I was surprised. Not only did I really like what I was hearing but I was surprised to hear that the band had apparently gone a much more melodic route then I had ever heard from them before.
Upon further inspection I found that there were more songs on the new record that also had fairly strong melodic leanings, so, being the collector I am, I quickly purchased the album and immediately sat back to give the whole thing a solid listen.
‘When Legends Rise’ is the first track and it is one heck of a good rocker. As said, it is the song that started my quest of listening to this whole album and it is one of my favorites of the record. While it is very heavy and certainly still has that Godsmack sound to it, there is quite the melodious chorus to it and I really like it.
‘Bulletproof’ and ‘Unforgettable’ are both two very strong tracks with pretty darn catchy melodies that I really quite like as well.
Now by the time I hit the fourth track on a modern rock album by a band that I have never cared for and there has yet to be one song that I have not really liked, I am going to start getting excited about the record and when the chorus of ‘Every Part Of Me’ started and I liked it as much as I had the first three songs then I did indeed start getting excited about the prospects of this album. I do so love finding new music that I like!
‘Take It To The Edge’ continued on with another strong track and it lead me into the biggest surprise of the album, a piano backed power ballad! Now I am out of my wheelhouse with this band and, honestly, the whole modern rock genre as a whole, but I do not recall Godsmack ever doing a lovely power ballad like ‘Under Your Scars’. What a great track though.
Now I am halfway through the album and pretty excited about it, but then it took a turn. Starting with track number 7, ‘Someday’, the record started sounding more like your typical modern hard rock and lost some of the melodic flavorings that had been throughout the first half. That alone would not have been much of an issue to me had the songs still stayed just as strong and catchy as they had been thus far, but, for this next track at least, something went wrong with the writing in my opinion and they lost any catchiness they had going thus far. ‘Someday’ is a throw away track for me while ‘Just One Time’ is a little better but just not up to par with what has come before.
‘Say My Name’ is a very modern hard rocker that at first did not grab me, but after a couple of spins I started to dig this one and thankfully ‘Let It Out’ is even stronger.
‘Eye Of The Storm’ closes out the record. This rocker is another pretty good track but, again, just does not live up to the first half of the album.
Melodic rock is known for its more hopeful, upbeat and positive lyrics, just one of the many things I love about the genre, but one of the things that I have always disliked about modern hard rock and metal is the negativity, anger and general subject matter of the lyrics, all of which Godsmack have previously presented in their music. But along with the change in style we also find the band losing those kind of lyrics, for the most part, to present a more positive record lyrically. Never a bad thing.
I have read that the band wanted to try and shed their heavy metal image with this album and go to a more hard rock direction and that this record represented almost a rebirth for the band. Whatever the reasons behind the change in sound, I am happy they did it because, aside from the one track in the middle and the slight downgrade in strength in the second half, this is a very strong hard rock record.
If the album had stayed as strong as the first half was then this would be one of the best modern hard rock albums I have heard in some time. But, while that first half is far far superior to the second half, there are still some good songs to be found in the latter part of the record and for anyone who enjoys modern hard rock I would most certainly recommend this one.
‘When Legends Rise’.
‘Every Part Of Me’.
‘Take It To The Edge’.
‘Under Your Scars’.