Review Summary: A rather dissappointing album for a veteran band.
Ever since their conception in 1996, Godsmack has been a force to be reckoned with in the alternative metal scene, pumping out hit after platinum album after hit. First came their self titled debut album, Godsmack in 1998; with such songs as ”Keep Away” and ”Voodoo”, Godsmack (the album) would eventually go on to sell over 5 million copies. Fast forward two years to 2000, Godsmack has released their sophomore album, Awake, and much like its predecessor, is full of hard music with catchy lyrical hooks.
Fast forward once again, to 2003. After a very promising first two albums, many expected another piece of gold from Godsmack, but what they got was a very average, very dull collection of music. Faceless, Godsmack’s third album, was a disappointing mix of music, and was cause for worry in amongst the Godsmack community. Such songs like ”Serenity” and ”I Stand Alone” showed signs of a possible shift from aggressive rock to catchy, listener friendly music. Could it be that Godsmack, one of the major players in the alternative metal scene was headed for…dare I say, the mainstream? We’ll put that question aside for a second, and fast forward 11 months to the release of The Other Side, a 6 track acoustic EP. It was a valiant effort to show that they could still write dark aggressive music, even without the use of distortion, and with the use of bongos; however, the album didn’t do much to help or hinder Godsmack’s status.
So now, 250 words in, we finally arrive at the album under review, Godsmack’s fourth full length studio album, appropriately entitled IV
Much of the music on the album sounds tired and uninspiring. The guitar riffs seem to have lost the edge that was present in the early work of Godsmack. Songs like the ”The Enemy” are repetitive and dull, while others like ”Voodoo Too” are just boring. Many of the rhythms on the album are repeated throughout the course of each song, and vary very little from song to song. That is not to say however, that all of the guitar work is dull; such songs as ”Speak” and ”Temptation” feature the hard hitting riffs that Godsmack have become known for, while others like ”Shine Down” feature a more interesting rock oriented groove. The guitar solos on the album are note worthy, but nothing special. In most cases they simply compliment the songs, as opposed to taking the songs to the next level. The bass is present on the album, and does a good job of adding depth to such songs as ”No Rest For the Wicked” and ”Mama” but for the most part just follows the guitar lines and riffs. The drumming on the album is above average, and the use of the double bass is well done; only being used to compliment the music. Many of the drum fills are interesting and for a large majority of the album the beats are fitting to the music, and in some cases are what makes the album listenable. In short, the musical aspect of IV
pales in comparison to their early work.
The vocal work on the album fares much better than the musical aspects of it. As always, Sully Erna mixes his clean vocals with an aggressive shout, and it turns out for the better. His vocals sound stronger than ever, however, when matched with the rather generic music that is presented on the album, they are dragged down. Tracks like ”Speak” show off his aggressive tone nicely, while others such as ”Shine Down” display his clean tone. All in all, Erna does a nice job vocally on the album. The lyrical aspect of the album however, leaves much to be desired. Many of the lyrics sound as though they were written by an amatuer lyricist as opposed to a well seasoned vocalist/lyricist like Sully Erna. Even though ”Speak” shows his range well, it contains only 5 lines outside of the chorus:
”Free, you better love me
And hide or run away
From all your yesterdays…
… And way beyond your controlling mind (mind)
And no more believing in all your precious lies”
The lyrics will continue on this way for the duration of the album, and won't improve. Many of the lyrice on this album deal with personal betrayal ("The Enemy), and personal torment ("No Rest For the Wicked"); much like the music though, it becomes boring and repetitive within a very short time. The sequel to their hit song ”Voodoo”, appropriately entitled ”Voodoo Too” doesn’t fare any better:
“Have you ever wondered why in a dream you can touch a fallen sky?
Fly to the heavens that watch over you, telling me it's voodoo
It seems as though they were trying too hard to portray a dark atmosphere on this album, and in doing so, sacrificed writing good lyrics.
To summarize Godsmack’s fourth studio album, IV
, it is simply another generic hard rock album. Die hard fans of Godsmack will want to pick this album up, but the occasional listener can live on without giving it a listen. The guitar and bass riffs sound as though they could have been written by that new hard rock band that pops on to the scene every month or so before fading into obscurity, and not the respected alternative metal band with several platinum albums. IV
is a rather disappointing album for such a veteran band.
Sully Erna - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Tony Rombola - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Robbie Merrill - Bass, Backing Vocals
Shannon Larkin - Drums and Percussion
Track by Track
Livin’ in Sin: 2.5/5
The Enemy: 2.5/5
Shine Down: 3/5
No Rest For the Wicked: 2/5
Bleeding Me: 2/5
Voodoo Too: 2.5/5
One Rainy Day: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5 out of 5