Lighting Up the Sky

rating icon 8 / 10

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

GODSMACK have been together since the mid-1990s, and in that time, they've notched a massive 25 top 10 rock radio hits, 18 of which made it into the top five. It's a rare feat, and what's even more unique is that the guys are still delivering new music that tops the active rock radio charts. Such is the case with "Surrender", the debut single off GODSMACK's new album, "Lighting Up the Sky", which soared to No. 1 on active rock radio back in November 2022.

"Lighting Up the Sky" kicks off with "You and I", which features an old-school groove reminiscent of SOUNDGARDEN or even THE PRETTY RECKLESS. It's a jam-y number that is looser and sloppier, purposely so, than typical GODSMACK fare. "You and I"'s simplicity makes it extra catchy and something that quickly sucks the listener into the rest of the album. "Red White and Blue" is a keenly traditional-sounding GODSMACK song, with choppy vocals and a head-bopping beat.

It's easy to see why "Surrender", the album's chart-topping single, caught on. With building hard rock guitars that wallop into a huge chorus and Erna singing about a dying relationship, it's the kind of rock anthem that makes one feel as if they have power over a thwarted lover. From there, "What About Me" and "Best of Times" are other familiar-sounding GODSMACK songs, with the band's characteristic ALICE IN CHAINS-esque harmonies and aggressive rhythms. "Truth" offers something different here. In the introspective ballad, Erna sings about a lost relationship in which he stayed loyal and true to the end, only to be lied to and cast away. If you're looking for ragers, you'll find them with "Hell's Not Dead" and "Soul of Fire", both of which feature the heaviest guitars on the record and an extra kick in the gut. The album ends with another ballad, "Growing Old", and the album's title track. Both show the softer side of the band and leave the listener realizing just how mature GODSMACK have become.

On "Lighting Up the Sky", GODSMACK show they're the statesmen of hard rock. While "Lighting Up the Sky" isn't a shift or very different for GODSMACK, it's still a highly entertaining listen, one that highlights the relationship-based lyrics and has the listener thinking, "Hey, these guys are truly one of us."

Author: Anne Erickson
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