I’ll be honest with you: I don’t really like Godsmack. Much of what I’ve heard doesn’t appeal to me. I’ll admit that they’re a solid band, with many positives, but you won’t catch me in a tee-shirt depicting their wanna-be Alice in Chains
sun logo anytime soon. However, a little over year ago, a friend of mine had recently picked up Godsmack’s The Other Side
EP featuring acoustic versions of some of the band’s most popular songs, as well as previously unreleased acoustic tracks “Running Blind,” “Touché,” and “Voices.” I also noticed that this EP featured the song “Asleep” which is actually the acoustical rendition of “Awake,” the title track of the band’s second album. Anyway, when I saw that my pal had purchased this CD, I instantly wanted to hear if it could impress me any more than Godsmack’s studio albums did. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did.
The Other Side
is unsurprisingly softer than Godsmack that you would come to expect. This is the type of release that occurs when a band wants to record something to please old and new fans, but also wants some that will allow them to be viewed on a higher level as artists. The Other Side
features excellent songwriting, in respect to the new tracks, and perfect re-workings of the some of the songs that helped make Godsmack famous. The guitar parts are simple, yet effective. Beautifully played acoustics overlaid by vocalist Sully Erna’s typically grungy growl, complemented by light bits of percussion, wrap everything together into a tight, coherent, and enjoyable package.
From the beginning, the slow, smooth chords of “Running Blind” wash over you. This song is excellently paced, and suits its acoustic setting perfectly. I especially like the percussion in this song; it reminds me of something out of a Wild West movie (take that however you wish). “Realign” is a most worthy revisiting of one of Godsmack’s former hits. The Other Side
version of this song retains the strength of the original, but adds more of a melody, and makes the sound more radio-friendly then ever before. “Touché” was written in conjunction with Dropbox
members John Kosco and Lee Richards (whose band is currently signed to Erna’s Realign
record label, a subsidiary of Universal). Featuring one of the most clever and memorable riffs on the EP, “Touché” is a perfect blend of two band’s creative visions, and one of the strongest tracks by far.
‘Voices,” the third of the previously unreleased tracks is a slight disappointment musically compared to the first two. However, whatever it lacks in that department, it makes up for in the lyrics sheet. “Voices” is a very well-written song, and Erna’s voice compliments is perfectly. “Keep Away” has a slightly more-twangy guitar sound to it. It also features a much more prominent bassline when compared to the rest of the EP. In direct contrast to “Voices,” “Keep Away” lacks lyrically, but makes up for it musically (probably one of the reason’s why it was Godsmack’s first hit). “Spiral” is a favorite song of Godsmack‘s to perform during concerts. The introduction reminds me of the Pearl Jam
song “Once” (from the band’s 1991 debut Ten
). Fusing excellent guitar work, great drumming, and perfect vocals, “Spiral” is another one of the standout tracks from The Other Side
. This EP concludes with “Asleep.” An interesting adoption of “Awake,” “Asleep” features a hauntingly audible piano as well as the chillingly moody guitar sounds. It’s a rather melancholy way to end The Other Side
, but is most likely a fan favorite.
Like I said before: I’m not a Godsmack fan. However, I am a fan of this EP. It’s the first thing I recommend when asked for input on this band. While it may not be perfect (similar songs, repetitive lyrics, etc.), it’s still a very solid release from a solid band. I may have to go find me a shirt featuring album art from The Other Side
, because something like that I wouldn’t mind wearing.