GODSMACK has tapped Erik Ron (PANIC! AT THE DISCO, SAOSIN) to produce the band's follow-up to 2014's "1000hp" album. The group's seventh studio disc will arrive in 2018 to coincide with GODSMACK's twentieth anniversary.GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna spoke about the band's next LP during an interview with Metal-Heads.de conducted before his September 16 solo concert in Hamburg, Germany. He said (see video below): "Right [after I am done with] this [solo] tour, [I go] right into the studio, record the new GODSMACK record this winter. The [first] single will probably come out sometime around January and then hopefully we'll have the record in everyone's hands by April." Asked who is producing the new GODSMACK album, Erna replied: "It's a guy named Erik Ron. He's gonna be producing this record with me." Erna told WFMZ-TV in early August that GODSMACK will "open a new chapter" in its career by adopting "a new sound, a new stage and a new look" in time for the release its next studio album. He said: "We have made a conscious decision to kind of change the game a bit… We're gonna change things up enough, maintain the integrity of what we are and what we do. But it feels so far that the writing is going a little bit more down into a commercial, mainstream kind of feel. But, again, without losing the power and the stuff that we built our heritage on." Erna's comments echoed those he made in July in an interview with "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie. Speaking about how his songwriting is evolving, Erna remarked: "I'm not that young, angry kid that I used to be once. I'm a lot older now, I have a daughter of my own, I'm in a good place in my life. I don't have a whole lot to really be stressed out about or mad. And so the music has to evolve with that." He continued: "So now where things are a little bit brighter and a little bit better, we're not gonna write about flowers and ice cream, but I certainly think that it's gonna have a little bit more positive of a message and I definitely think it's even gonna have a little bit more of a commercial edge to it. Because we're older now, and we wanna kind of continue to write and play music that we also enjoy and not always have to be in 'screamo' mode and chugging away." Erna said that he wants to focus on composing "really well-written songs," adding, "I listen to a lot of great songwriters — Elton John, Michael Jackson, whoever it is that has been legendary and iconic. And I try once again to absorb and learn from them so we can put out the best record we can due to the year and the day and age that we're in." GODSMACK's last release was a song called "Inside Yourself", which was made available in October 2015 as a free download at the band's official web site. The new GODSMACK CD will be its first effort for BMG, following a split with the band's label home since 1998, Republic/Universal.
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