The frontman says that the hard rock group is "stronger now than it's ever been" after some recent turmoil.
Godsmack frontman Sully Erna acknowledges that between 2010's chart-topping "Oracle" and the upcoming "1000hp," due out Aug. 5 through Republic Records, "people were having doubts about whether the band was going to continue" -- doubts that were quickly dispelled once the quartet got together last fall to start working on new material.
"It was scary, for sure," Erna tells Billboard. "It's one of those crossroads you hit in your life. the band was going through some obstacles we had to jump through; I just think we were tired, man. We were exhausted from all the years of touring and just needed a break, that's all." Upon reconnecting with each other, Erna recalls, "we really missed each other. The love was still there. The brotherhood is stronger now than it's ever been. I'm really proud to say we've learned so much and we've gotten over those hills and there won't be any more of that because we've learned how to understand we're four different people from four different worlds and you have to give people their space. It just takes awhile, unfortunately, to learn that when you're in a band, you're in a marriage."
The realization, according to Erna, made for a productive creative process. "When it was time to start writing again, the guys brought in a batch of songs and I had a batch of songs I'd been working on and we laid them all on the table and stared carving through them and seeing which ones we were gonna tighten up and which ones were not gonna make the cut," says Erna, who toured in support of his 2010 solo album "Avalon" during much of the interim. The result is a characteristically hard-hitting affair that ranges from the blazing, autobiographical title track and first single to more experimental and stretched-out fare such as "Generation Day" and "Nothing Comes Easy."
Erna, who co-produced the album with Dave Fortman, is also favoring "Something Different" for the album's second single, which also takes the group in some fresh directions.
"There's just something really special about that song," he says, "and it's the first time we've written a song that's just enough outside the box but somehow still works in Godsmack. There's this great big melodic hook to it and it's a different approach than we've ever done before, but it still maintains the power and the integrity of the band and it's just really a unique piece. The last time I had a feeling like this about a song was (2002's) 'I Stand Alone.' "
Godsmack is gearing up for "1000hp's" release, including looking at proposed video treatments for the single, and also getting ready for this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival tour, which kicks off Aug. 15 in suburban Detroit. "We're planning to have a great time and looking to go out there and do as much damage as we can," Erna says. "We're really gearing up. We have a lot of energy and we're really excited to hit the road again. It's gonna be a big, fat, old school rock show."
After Uproar wraps Sept. 14, Erna says Godsmack plans to tour Canada, with more U.S. dates to follow later in the fall. "I'm pretty sure we're going to dedicate next year to international and try to hit some new markets we haven't been to yet and service Europe and Japan and places like that," Erna adds.
The full track listing for "1000hp" includes:
3. Something Different
4. What’s Next
5. Generation Day
6. Locked & Loaded
7. Livin’ In The Gray
8. I Don't Belong
9. Nothing Comes Easy
10. Turning To Stone
11. Life Is Good (Best Buy bonus track)