GODSMACK has set "When Legends Rise" as the title of its first album in four years, due out April 27. The follow-up to 2014's "1000hp" will be GODSMACK's first effort for BMG, following a split with the band's label home since 1998, Republic/Universal.
Arriving to radio today, February 28, the first single is "Bulletproof", which 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. An official music video is coming soon.
What inspired the songs on "When Legends Rise"? "It was just about evolving as a songwriter," says Erna. "I wanted to stretch my wings out even further to use all the experiences I've had with writing different types of music over the years and applying that to find a way to introduce a newer, fresher, more mature sound, but 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 Sully Erna. Sonically intense and layered, it pushes the band forward and kicks 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 traveled 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". Says 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 learned 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 favorite song on the record," says Erna. "And thanks to an organization I work with called C.A.T.S. (Community Alliance for Teen Safety) that focuses on helping young kids stay on the right path, 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!!"
"When Legends Rise" is also highlighted by the powerful string-laden ballad "Under Your Scars". "I come from a very broad background in music," explains 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 with and composing. 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" track listing:
01. When Legends Rise
04. Every Part Of Me
05. Take It To The Edge
06. Under Your Scars
08. Just One Time
09. Say My Name
10. Let it Out
11. Eye Of The Storm
GODSMACK filmed a video for "Bulletproof" on February 7 at a studio in Los Angeles, featuring cameos from country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and former SKID ROW frontman Sebastian Bach in addition to TV personality Chris Jacobs from "Overhaulin'". The clip was directed by the band's longtime visual collaborator Troy Smith.
GODSMACK's last release was a song called "Inside Yourself", which was made available in October 2015 as a free download at the band's official web site.