To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a fan of Godsmack. Back around the time of their debut album, I went to one of their shows because I was publishing a hair metal zine and their drummer was a guy who’d played in Lillian Axe. While I didn’t hate the show, to my hair band loving ass they just weren’t my cup o’ tea. And then Sully kept calling me, wanting to get interviewed for my zine, which was called Ant, The Only Cool Magazine that bites. Alas, I couldn’t fake liking Godsmack enough to do an interview. So, I ignored him. And he kept calling, right up until the time they suddenly started getting lots of airplay on Boston’s WAAF, which went gaga over the band or whatever reason. From there, the band got signed. And the label sent me a copy of the album. But I could not be bothered to review it. During the past twenty years, the band has continued to pump out albums but I’ve ignored them. I’d hear a song here and there on the radio but was generally bored by them. So, when I was given the opportunity to review their new album, 1000hp, otherwise known as 1000 horse power, I really wasn’t into the idea. But I listened to it. And they weren’t as bland as I’d remembered. For one thing, Sully’s vocals were a bit more melodious. Much to my surprise, I didn’t hate it. There was clearly a certain level of passion running through it. It was vibrant, a living, breathing thing. Now, I have a policy of listening to an album three times before reviewing it, so I kept on listening to it. I thought I was finally going to hate it by the time the second listen was over but I didn’t. Its songs weren’t the most original music around, but that was part of the appeal; as much as they sounded new and lively, they also made me feel nostalgic for the grunge era.
The album opens with the blistering title track, “1000HP,” which overflows with contagious energy. Here, Sully’s vocals are a bit less grunge and more of a clean metal vocal. Less Alice In Chains and more Judas Priest. Lyrically, it reveals the band’s backstory. “Time to rewind / Back to 1995,” Sully sings as it begins. “Turn that shit up louder!” he declares during the chorus. “Make it all go faster!” It’s certainly enough to make you want to pump your fist, which can also be said about the second track on the record, “FML.” But things really get interesting during the third cut, “Something Different,” which has an air of classic rock about it, conjuring up flashbacks of vintage Blue Oyster Cult and early Scorpions songs. “I tried to see things your way, but something changes every day / And every question way too long, long,” Sully sings. There’s an air of early Styx about it as well. To that end, I wouldn’t quite call it prog rock but it’s a progression from Godsmack’s early sound to be sure. Ditto for the six minute “Generation Day,” which kicks off like a serious caffeine overdose before drifting away into something of a cocaine haze; it’s enough to give you chills. Now, that’s something I never would have expected to write about a Godsmack song.