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Godsmack
The Other Side
Republic/Universal Records
www.godsmack.com


What makes a "metal" band feel the need to badly prove its musical prowess in the public eye? Godsmack's latest offering The Other Side raises such questions; what was the motivation?

Released on Republic/Universal Records, the bio tells us the album's intended to show "Godsmack's intensity", and how it has "little to do with amp settings". Recorded in Hawaii to "capture the album's breezy, organic vibe", it's nothing more than annoyingly hokey, overproduced and "godsmacking" (sorry) of saturated guitars and harmonies; I found little to like, however, the album's artwork is top notch. Way to go P.R. Brown at BAU-DA Design Lab.

There's no question that Sully Erna, Tony Rombola, Robbie Merrill, and Shannon Larkin, are extremely accomplished and technical musicians, unfortunately it's lost in the silliness of this album. One can't help but wonder if the normally angry and aggressive Godsmack is suffering from some form of insecurity issues, or maybe just Erna, since he produced this album himself. Re-recording "Keep Away" as an acoustical arrangement is just wrong.

"We've always wanted to make a record like this," said Erna. Have they or has Erna? Either way, Godsmack should stick to what they do best - Rocking! Unfortunately, most bands that find success and the chemistry needed, in this rapid-fire media nation, will do anything to screw it up. The bottom line is Sully Erna's brooding vocal style only works when offset by the aggressive nature normally associated to Godsmack. If they had wanted to strip their songs to the bone, they should have hired former Son Volt front man, Jay Farrar to produce the album. However, would that have pulled the curtain back to far for Erna's comfort level? But that's only a speculation.

So did I hate it? No, but I just couldn't take is seriously.

If there's a silver lining, track seven, "Asleep", would have been an amazing hidden or bonus track on a normal release.

-Hamlin

Track Listing:

1. Running Blind
2. Re-align
3. Touché
4. Voices
5. Keep Away
6. Spiral
7. Asleep


 

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Mike Doughty



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