On February 24, 2023, Godsmack released their eighth studio album “Lighting Up the Sky.”
During the press leading up to the record’s release, the band had been planting seeds that this may be their last studio album. As you work your way through the material there are plenty of subtle/not-so-subtle hints that the end may in fact be near.
So in honour of the release of “Lighting Up the Sky” here is a look at my favourite songs from the album.
“Hells Not Dead”
“Dead” is one of the more intriguing cuts on the album. The title screams for it to be brutal, boiling in anger and steeped in darkness. What we get is the opposite, which is not a negative, just not what I was expecting. I feel most of that comes from Erna’s vocal performance which is at the higher end of his range. If any track deserved Erna’s patented snarl, it is “Dead.” Though I do appreciate the swerve.
The solo and post-solo sections of the song are fantastic and prove how tight the band is. All the instruments exist in their own space and are blended perfectly.
“Truth” is the most relatable song on the record in terms of lyrics. At one time or another, I am sure we have found ourselves amid the narrative (infidelity and harbouring feelings for that person who committed it) that Erna paints across the hauntingly beautiful arrangements of the piano and strings.
The band could have easily crossed the line into self-indulgence and overdid their performances, but they created musical tension that pays off in the solo section and settles nicely into the back half of the song.
If any song on the album could have been included on Godsmack’s 2004 release “The Other Side”, “Old” would be it. The track provides the emotional anchor to the record and creates some sonic balance. The ambient organ that starts the track off is a great touch and can be heard underneath the layered instrumentation and acoustic guitar work.
“Old” also has my favourite lyric on the record “And your days are young, but man, I’m growing old”, It is such a self-reflective line and easily applicable to everyone.
“Go” is my favourite song on the album. The main riff is dirty, crunchy, and bluesy. What I like most about this one is it feels like two different songs. When the first part of the track winds down and the slower, melodic part begins, that is where the magic happens.
The band worked hard on the transitions and the results are exquisite. Pay keen attention to the riff under the solo because it serves up a whole heap of awesomeness.
“Lighting up the Sky”
If “Lighting” turns out to be the final studio record from “Godsmack” they chose the perfect track to close out with.
If you have followed the band for some time, you should be able to hear all the references, they peppered in the track (sorry no spoilers), most notably from their debut album.
I think of all the songs on the record, “Lighting” resonates with me, because of the poetic way it arrives and closes out. I have followed the band since August 1998, and to see their career come full circle is something special.
While the band contemplates their long-term recording plans “Lighting up the Sky” would make a wonderful bookend to their career. It is a solid hard rock record that pays tribute to all eras of the band’s career, with just enough familiarity and experimentation to keep things consistent, fresh, and exciting.
Until next time, Play it, loud friends,