Twenty years after the release of their breakthrough debut effort, Massachusetts hard rock veterans Godsmack veered in a fresh direction for their seventh set, When Legends Rise. Following 2014’s by-the-numbers 1000hp and frontman Sully Erna’s 2016 sophomore solo effort, Hometown Life, Legends presents a little of the old Godsmack — crunch, grit, and all — with an added dose of polish and melody courtesy of co-producer Erik Ron (Motionless in White, Issues, I See Stars). Like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, Godsmack are reborn, to a certain extent, shedding some of the bitterness, anger, and aggression that was a trademark of their earlier output. Yet, without that violent anger and creeping darkness that defined some of their biggest hits, what’s left is a band that remains hungry and driven by hope. The album kicks off with a one-two punch that serves as a reminder of their power and offers a taste of the new path they’ve set for themselves. “When Legends Rise” is a rousing avalanche of drums and guitar, elevated by Erna’s clear and clean vocals. The divisive single “Bulletproof” soars, playing on melody and polished production, one of the most easily accessible songs in their catalog. The rest of the first half is loaded with equally exciting moments, from the massive anthem “Unforgettable” — with its surprising gang chorus — and the sweeping, arena-ready ballad “Under Your Scars,” a string-drenched highlight that recalls Erna’s songwriting from those Hometown Life sessions. For the diehards, Godsmack include plenty of callbacks to their earlier days. The propulsive “Just One Time” and rollicking “Say My Name” charge forth like Clutch, while “Let It Out” matches the radio-friendliness of “Bulletproof” with just a little more grit. As the chest-puffing, strutting anthem “Eye of the Storm” closes the album, there’s a sense that Godsmack are reinvigorated, confident, and no less defiant than they were in 1998. When Legends Rise is a slight shift, but a highly enjoyable one that stirs the soul in unexpected ways.