It’s been four long years since Godsmack released their last effort – Oracle. In that time much has changed for the Boston headbangers. Frontman Sully Erna launched his solo career while other band members went away to discover other projects away from the band. Luckily for us with such a break in time and the unknown looming, Godsmack didn’t let the reigns slip too loose and mustered the creative spark needed to produce sixth studio album 1000hp. The band have been heavily likened to other hard rockers such as Alice in Chains and Metallica, having toured several times previously with the latter. To be included in the same sentence as these bands is no easy task, but if you have followed Godsmack throughout their career you would say no one deserved the accolades more than they.
From the title, 1000hp promises high-octane drama, and this is exactly what we get with Godsmack’s latest offering. The title track album opener 1000hp blisters along with staccato guitar riffs and that classic vocal roar from Erna. He has the ability to get his voice sounding extraordinarily heavy while retaining all the tone, texture and tune to his vocal parts. It is pretty impressive to listen too and is a defining characteristic of the bands sound. The opener sets the tone for most of the record in fact. The headbanging friendly FML showcases some serious slow-tempo groove and its nice to see the band get a little ‘sludgey’. What’s Next contains more riffs than you’d like to count. It’s frantic, hectic even, but sounds slick on the ears, as do many of these tunes. The production is tight and expertly put together. We are treated to classic Godsmack of old with Generation Day. It includes a verse/chorus that demands the listener’s attention, and those droning melodies are always at play somewhere in the distance.
At times the album shifts direction slightly but never too far off centre. Livin’ in the Grey is perhaps the furthest from the album’s ‘norm’. It features a particularly musical drum pattern that drives the song and the vocals have been arranged very reminiscent of the style of the great Layne Staley (Alice in Chains). It shows Godsmack can adapt and mix it up when needed, and needed it is here. If anything just for a break from the onslaught of riffage emerging from your speakers, but the band really distinguishes themselves on this one as not being a one trick pony so to speak.
The eleven-track album is primed and ready to cut it with the best of them. Those metal and hard rock influences are evident throughout, however Godsmack deliver their specific brand that sits at the core of their sound. It is edgy, angry and in your face, yet is full of tone, musicality and an evident sense of craftsmanship. 1000hp definitely lies near the top in the Godsmack back catalogue, and serves nicely as a glance back to the past, but with a foot firmly pointing to the future.