Godsmack – Lighting Up The Sky

Godsmack - Lighting Up The Sky Album Cover Artwork

Love them or hate them Godsmack have been a consistent force in the hard rock scene for over 20 years and now with new album Lighting Up The Sky their groove infused brand continues to bother the charts and give their live shows the energy their fanbase has grown to love and expect.

Opening with the Led Zeppelin-esque You and I, the band come out swinging before vocalist/guitarist Sully Erna sings his ode to America with Red, White and Blue.

The production on this album is as top notch as you would expect from a band of this stature and lead single Surrender sounds great, particularly on its catchy middle 8 section, which is a stand out moment of the album itself.

The first of two ballads, Truth, doesn’t really hit home, despite some great playing from guitarist Tony Rombola, but it was nice to hear strings used in a subtle fashion rather than being a dominate force like many rock bands do when utilising them. It’s not a bad song, it just has a dated feel to it and would probably sound better on a more post-grunge album back in the early-00’s. Thankfully Hell’s Not Dead is more of a return to the stomping rock vibes that Godsmack have made their name on, including some use of a few cheeky background samples that made them standout from the crowd back on their debut album.

Shannon Larkin has always been one of the most exciting drummers to watch live, but it’s not until Soul on Fire he really seems to let loose, but it’s easy to imagine this track going in the live set and his arms and hair whirling around the drum kit for its duration and the same goes for the stupidly bouncy and catchy Let’s Go.

Best of Times wouldn’t sound out of place on one their earlier records although lyrically it’s a little more positive and mature than some of those offerings, while the second slower paced track Growing Old features some excellent sounding harmonies and is a fairly straight forward rock ballad which, again, doesn’t quite land. It’s not that Godsmack can’t do more melodic tracks, Voodoo was fantastic in its time as was One Rainy Day from their fourth album, but somehow the ones on here seem a bit forced.

Album closer Lighting Up the Sky has a bit of a vibe of the instrumental The Oracle from the album of the same name and it’s almost like it started life that way and then Erna became inspired by the chorus and turned it into a “standard song”. It works well and it’s great to hear them remember to look into their little bag of samples for the outro with some vocal effects and a cheeky call back to how it all started.

Godsmack are a band where you know what you’re going to get and they aren’t for everyone, they are certainly far more successful over the pond than here in the UK, but every time they play here the crowd is always full and it seems that when the band connects with people they do so quite deeply. If you aren’t a Godsmack fan already, this album won’t change your mind, but if you were at any of the London shows the last few years or were rocking at either of their 2 appearances at Download Festival then this album will give you some new tunes to sing along to and work out to while you wait for their return, which hopefully won’t be too long.

Lighting Up The Sky is out now via BMG

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