GODSMACK's music video for the song "Surrender" can be seen below. The track is taken from the band's new album, "Lighting Up The Sky", which will arrive on February 24, 2023 via BMG.
Co-produced by vocalist/guitarist Sully Erna and Andrew "Mudrock" Murdock (AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ALICE COOPER),"Lighting Up The Sky" is a testament to powerful storytelling.
"I like when a record takes you on a journey from front to back. I realized there's a whole story here about one man's journey, the ups, and downs," says Erna. "I believe it's a story everyone will connect to, on a human level, because we've all gone through things in life." The album explores boy-meets-girl, obstacles in relationships, the polarized political climate and the state of the world, betrayal, connection, rebounds, and more. It also gets into the idea of legacy, what we leave behind; fitting for what Erna has noted as GODSMACK's final studio album.
"Lighting Up The Sky" track listing:
01. You And I 02. Red White & Blue 03. Surrender 04. What About Me 05. Truth 06. Hell's Not Dead 07. Soul On Fire 08. Let's Go 09. Best of Times 10. Growing Old 11. Lighting Up The Sky
In a recent interview with Pablo of the Minneapolis, Minnesota radio station 93X, Erna spoke about the fact that "Lighting Up The Sky" will likely be GODSMACK's final collection of original material. He explained: "It's the most important record, I think, we've ever written and recorded.
"I've never been that artist who says, 'Oh, this record is our newest record. It's our best work ever.' You can read any interview you want over my whole career, and you've never heard me say it," he continued. "I've always loved our records [and] I always knew there would be some good singles on it and hoped it did well, but I was never the guy that said, 'This is our best fucking work ever.' And I'm telling you right now this is our best fucking work ever. And it's because it's emotional, man. This is the last record we're ever gonna do. This is the last run around the mill for us. We put every single ounce of energy and emotion into this album. Especially for me, when I wrote a lot of these songs, it was about my life journey. That's really what the sequence of this album becomes about. Not that it was planned that way, but this really kind of mystical thing happened where I felt like the universe wrote this record.
"We went in there with no plan, no ideas — very minimal ideas, just jamming. And, 'what's gonna be the topic? What am I gonna talk about now? How many times can I talk about a broken relationship?' Blah blah blah. And then it just started happening where song after song that was written, as I'm sequencing it and putting it in the order that I would like people to hear it in… We're still old school and we like an album to have a flow from front to back. I love vinyl — I want people to listen to side A and side B. And this one really told a story. And when I started to realize that, I'm, like, Okay. Let me shuffle these around a little bit more.'"
Erna went on to clarify that GODSMACK does not intend to stop playing live shows anytime soon. "I wanna make sure people are clear about what we're saying here," he said. "I'm not saying that the band may be breaking up. What I'm saying is I think this may be the last body of work you get musically from the band. And it's because we're in this place in our lives right now where we've done a lot of work over the last three decades. Without sounding egotistical, which we're not trying to do, we're at 27 Top 10 singles, 11 Number Ones. We could literally do back-to-back nights in an arena and play 15 songs a night and never play the same single twice, let alone the 'B' cuts. And we started thinking, when we were in that thought process, why are we in here grinding all the time and doing this new music when we wanna just also know that we've never stopped in the 25 years we've been touring. We'd like to be able to enjoy our lives, our family, our houses, the things that we've earned over the years that we've sacrificed. So I think the balance for that, the happy medium, is to be able to just go out there now and continue to do live shows and put the greatest-hits show together.
"I don't know what we're gonna do after this record," he explained. "And it doesn't make sense to continue to do music. It really feels complete in a good way, in a positive way. We feel like we've honored our career, our relationships with our fans, and we're always gonna be there for them; we're gonna do shows. But as far as to continue this, after this [album], unless we just decide one day, 'Yeah, one more for the road,' I think this could be it for us with new music."
According to Erna, GODSMACK plans to hit the road after the release of "Lighting Up The Sky" and never stop. "That's forever now. It's forever now," he said. "From the point we start touring, we will always tour. We may take some breaks here and there, but we're now gonna start setting up the greatest-hits show, because we feel like we're able to do that. We can now play the best of the best that the fans have identified as what they've enjoyed the most over the years and why these songs became hit singles."
Sully said that the decision to stop releasing new albums was influenced by the fact that too many people these days don't care about new music from bands who have been around as long as GODSMACK.
"As a music lover and a fan of live shows and bands in general, that when you go see your favorite bands, there's a certain point in their career where you just go, 'I don't really give a shit about a new record anymore. I'm sorry, but I wanna hear 'Dream On' and 'Train Kept A Rollin'' and 'Same Old Song And Dance'. I don't wanna hear any of this new shit. I don't know it and I don't care. But these other songs have lived with me for two, three, four decades,'", he said. "And I just feel like we're getting to that place where… If we get out there and we don't play 'I Stand Alone' or 'Keep Away' or 'Voodoo' or whatever these songs have been for these people over the years, they ream us for it. So we know we're stuck with that. We're always gonna play the hits. But we have so many singles now that it's time, I think, to try to pull as many as we can off this record, add it to that list and then go out there and play the best of the best. And then maybe throw a few surprises every show, whether it's the drum battle or some fun cover."
Erna concluded by saying that "Lighting Up The Sky" does not represent "an ending" but is rather "a new beginning. This is a new beginning of an era — it's the beginning of our sunset years," he explained. "And in our sunset years we wanna create something really special for the fans live where we can take every cool moment that we've ever done in every album cycle — the 'Awake' album had certain things we featured in the live show; the 'Faceless' record had certain things we featured from the live show; and so on — now we can create a montage of all those special things in each tour and just do a 'holy crap' show. That's what I wanna create. We're gonna try to make it big and special and important, filled with all special moments that people have enjoyed over the years. And I think that's gonna be really satisfying to us as well, 'cause it takes a lot of pressure off of us to know now we can just go out and enjoy what we do. Playing music is what we love the most — live. And it gives us more time to connect with the fans, connect with the live show and just enjoy the best part of why we do this for a living."
"Surrender", which arrived in September, marked the first release from GODSMACK in four years, following their globally acclaimed and gold-certified 2018 album "When Legends Rise", which earned the Erna-fronted outfit a No. 1 spot across U.S. Hard Rock, Rock, and Alternative album charts.
In September 2021, GODSMACK's latest album, "When Legends Rise", was certified gold on by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales in excess of half a million copies. In addition, two more of the LP's singles (the title track and "Under Your Scars") were also officially certified gold by the RIAA. The album's first single "Bulletproof" earned a platinum digital single award in September 2020 and was previously certified gold in the U.S.
"When Legends Rise" was the seventh studio album from GODSMACK. Produced by Erik Ron and Erna, it was the band's first release in four years and was recorded at their now-former headquarters (GSHQ) in Derry, New Hampshire. The album went on to garner a multitude of career milestones for the group: four No. 1 rock tracks (an accomplishment that makes GODSMACK one of only four rock acts to achieve this),and a record 11 No. 1 singles in the band's career with the album's fourth single, "Unforgettable". "When Legends Rise" entered the Billboard Top 200 album chart in the top ten (No. 8),with four No. 1 placements on other charts: Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Music Albums, Top Independent Albums and Top Alternative Albums.
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