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  • To keep it short, this album is simply brilliant. The album retains the masterful, driving energy of its predecessors while at the same time revealing, growing lyrical depth and maturity in their song writing. New drummer Shannon Larkin brings new energy and excellent drumming skills to the table. While Godsmack’s drummers have never been less than great, Shannon seems to be the best so far. Personally I’d like to see Sully take the drums, but Shannon is great. Immediately one will notice that the songs seem more upbeat. From the getgo, the album opens with gunfire reminiscent of Metallica’s One. The drum salvo comes in with force, a common theme in the album, the drums are right there powering the songs. Godsmack, gone soft? Heck no! There as heavy as ever, except this time around they’ve got a middle eastern track on there, serenity that has some sweet string work by underrated guitarist Tony Rombola. Speaking of which, hes back, better than ever…he even abandons his wah pedal a couple of times on the album, like on one of the strongest offerings of the album, “Realign”, in which he delivers a superb solo worthy of praise. The songs are all masterfully crafted, drawing on Godsmacks strengths; its strong powerful lyrics and mesa-boogie amps and Gibson Les Paul guitars. Many of the songs hit you like a train with there drop C powered riffs. Every solo on the album is great, it is evident that Tony Rombola spent much more time on these solos, (a tribute to there long lockdown in a house isolated from outside musical influences in which they wrote this album.) Every song feels fresh and the album flows quite well. The riffs are more complex than before and the vocal melodies are better than ever, with Sully testing his range on such tracks as “Changes”, “Make Me Believe”, and “Realign” among others. Its admirable to see him moving to new levels with his trademark voice. He has also moved away from his typical bitter, even hateful lyrics, offering more inciteful reflective lyrics this time around although he clearly doesn’t abandon his roots as is shown in the track, “I *** hate you.”Although the album is a bit short for my tastes, clocking in at just over 47 minutes, every minute is great. Much more care has been taken in song construction and the songs now have some lead and more diverse structures even some clean portions! The casual metal fan will enjoy this album greatly and the Godsmack fan will love it, in my opinion it is there strongest album to date.1. Straight out of line – Great song, nice solo, solid riff, excellent drumming2. Faceless – Wah driven song, (think Whatever), great solo, very powerful3. Changes – Catchy nice chorus, great solo, good lyrics, solid riffing, excellent drumming4. Make Me Believe – Sully testing his range here, GREAT riff all around (look for the guitar part before chorus…heck yeah!), nice little solo as always, Good Bridge (More Sully experimentation, meaningful, almost sad lyrics5. I Stand Alone – Great solid song, nice chorus, great verse riff, superb drums (credit to Tommy Stewart there), pure Godsmack here6. Re-Align – perhaps the strongest offering here, a little reminiscent of awake on chorus riff, solid vocal melody, KILLER wah-less SOLO!7. I *** Hate you – Powerful Grinding riff that sucks you in, good lyrics for a hate song, typical godsmack song, but more energy and GREAT RIFF8. Releasing the Demons – very cool verses, nice guitar work, cool little syncopated bridge grind, classic “awake” like, but different at the same time.9. Dead and Broken – Great lyrically a little reminiscent of the style of “mistakes” in intro, nice verse riff, some cool tremolo pick classic Godsmack lead10. I Am – a little reminiscent in into of “trippin”, GREAT LYRICS, “Death will come when I’m good and ready!”, nice bridge classic ozzy/creed/metallica like bridge, nice background lead11. The Awakening – Think “The Journey” from awake, a congo drum solo intro thing to next track very cool, Shannons got skills baby12. Serenity – The “bands answer to voodoo”, sweet acoustic stuff and other strings, great, reflective lyrics, and a cool middle eastern feel, songs like this show Godsmacks great talents and diverse influenses, effectively closes album, great trackThis album is pure “energy rock”, as Sully stated. It takes all of Godsmacks strengths, adds more mature and reflective lyrics, some freaking awesome solos, better riffs, and an amazing drummer to the mix with great success. This is one of the best albums in my collection which is wide and diverse if I do say so myself. Buy this album, even if you don’t get it for $9 during the first week it is out, it is worth every penny of whatever its price. Buy it now and treat yourself to great music from one of the greatest bands of modern times.

    Posted on November 15, 2009