He has long been well-respected as having one of the best bands and voices in the business. And he is equally complicated.
For years, he worked on writing, playing and producing songs that would have felt out of place on Godsmack’s The Oracle or anything else by the band. So he decided to release Avalon, his first solo outing. It was a risk. It's not remotely close to Godsmack.
It's a “huge departure from anything I’ve ever done.” — Sully Erna
From the very first track, it is clear that Erna relishes the experimentation. Instead of pounding drums and shredding guitar, his songs rely on piano, acoustic guitars, hand drums, and mix of tribal and Eastern influences.
The result is hypnotic, melodic, and showcases Erna’s amazing voice in a most pleasing way. And he could not have found better partners to help produce it.
The Massachusetts native added an entire roster of very competent and talented musicians to help him craft his sound: Lisa Guyer (vocals), Tim Theriault (guitar and vocals), Chris Decato (keyboards, midi and vocals), Chris Lester (acoustic guitars and bass), Irina Chirkova (cello), David Stefanelli (drums and percussion), and Niall Gregory (drums and percussion). Gregory, best known for his work with Dead Can Dance, turns in some pretty impressive hand drumming here.
Released on Universal Records, Avalon’s first single, Sinner’s Prayer, is melodic, ethereal and definitely hypnotic. 7 Years is also epic in tone and length, perhaps chronicling the seven years it took to craft these songs. The Departed with Guyer also strikes the rights notes from start to finish. There is no reason to skip a single track.
Erna is an interesting guy. His lyrics consistently and easily reflect that. Besides his day job with Godsmack and his part-time solo work, he’s also an avid poker player, participating in the World Series of Poker. Beyond that, he is a philanthropist (he and his Godsmack bandmates sent supplies to Haiti) and the author of the memoir The Paths We Choose.
Sully Erna’s Avalon Rises With A 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Avalon is not just a collection of songs. It's a masterpiece. As Erna says, “Everything that I know in my life up until now has been bled into this body of work.” I could not agree more.
He is fearless and it shows. And while he is not currently on tour, Avalon brings him closer than ever. You can find Avalon on iTunes. Follow this link to Avalon on Amazon. You can also find the making of Avalon on Erna's Website.