If they suffered from comparisons at the beginning of their career, after almost three decades of fiery metal, no one would dare question Godsmack's originality. Over the years, they have propelled their unique sounds to the top of the charts. Devastating riffs, tribal rhythms on amphetamines, guttural vocals, mystical imagery and an innate sense of melody, from the unmistakable Voodoo to Surrender, one of their latest hits, their songs are recognisable between thousands.
It must be said that nothing has come in the way of the creative energy of this band from Massachusetts. There is no rivalry, no rift or controversy. Between the four musicians, the charismatic Sully Erna on vocals, Tony Rombola on epic solos, Robbie Merill on thundering bass lines and Shannon Larkin who handles the drumsticks at the speed of sound, the understanding is perfect. For more than 20 years, the quartet hasn't changed and it's certainly this almost unthinkable stability for a metal band that contributes to the success of their anthemic tracks, taken up by a public of experts and amateurs alike all over the world.
Because Godsmack have sold over 20 million albums, with huge expectations for each new release and platinum records that are beyond counting. Not bad for a metal band that crosses the decades without batting an eyelid, renewing itself without repeating itself, often looking at the side of hard-rock to deliver this energetic and dark mix for which they have the secret recipe.
And while we're on the subject of secrets, Godsmack has another one, which perhaps explains why time doesn't seem to have any hold on its members. Their energy and unity come from the stage, from the audience, with whom they commune in unison at each new appearance. Moreover, the group has chosen to leave the studios for good to devote themselves to it full time. As they admit, "we always felt that making records was more of a chore. What we really love in this life is playing live".
Boston isn't exactly known as the epicentre of metal, but that doesn't matter. It was in its suburbs that the members of Godsmack met and decided to take a name that actually evokes a fever blister as divine punishment. So much for the convoluted legend! As for the rest, the band was already tight, the only thing missing was Shannon Larkin who arrived four years later to give the band its final shape. But even without him, the eponymous first album is a hit with critics and headbangers alike, and already has everyone in agreement. With its tribal rhythms, AllMusic salutes those who have "brought metal into the age of time".
Godsmack's first album reached number 22 on the Billboard 200, but their second album, Awake, finally got the crowd on board, reaching number 5 on its release and then reaching number one. The eponymous track wakes up all the metalheads thanks to Sully Erna's raucous voice, who has definitely made the right decision to stop playing drums and start singing. The world discovered this new band who could now be counted on to throw the best circle pits in festivals all over the world. And if the concerts follow one another with a Dantesque energy, the albums will never leave the top of the charts. Faceless in 2003, IV in 2006 or The Oracle in 2010, Godsmack's success will never wane.
That year, the band released its sixth album, 1000hp, which, not surprisingly, topped the Billboard charts. Because in 15 years, Godsmack has gone from being the new kids on the block to being one of the biggest names in the metal world. The band's popularity has been rewarded by the mayor's decision to release a new album in the spring of 2008. A popularity that the mayor of Boston wants to reward, who, in order to highlight the enfants terribles of his state, decrees August 6, Godsmack Day! And so, the quartet becomes almost an institution.
There are bands that release almost an album a year, but that was never the case for Godsmack. They are clearly more comfortable playing live, sharing their rage and moods with their fans, rather than behind the mixing desks of the studio. So it's decided, Lighting Up the Sky will be their last album. A moving opus, which Erna describes as "our best fucking work ever". And if the band leaves the recording rooms, it is to devote themselves entirely to the stage. So don't worry, Godsmack's infectious energy is still shining through.
I think I've never sweated so much at a concert. The energy of the band is unbelievable, the music takes you by storm, the pogos and circle pits go on at full speed. Godsmack is truly king in the metal world!
Their influences range from Alice in Chains to Metallica, but clearly Godsmack's sound is unique. Hammering drums, big riffs and powerful vocals that instantly turn up the heat. Live, it's an unleashing of the solar energy they've been wielding like a talisman since their debut. Sully Erna as the frontman paces the stage and excites the crowd before throwing himself into the arena with his thunderous voice. And if the band hangs up in the studio, their live career will continue to shake the bodies and hearts of all big metal fans!
If Godsmack's eighth album is, as singer Sully Erna suggests, the band's last, then the Boston quartet have chosen a hell of a way to go out. Although the band is not retiring, Erna has declared that he is leaving the studio for good. While the wisdom of the decision is debatable, the band delivers a powerful swan song on Lighting Up the Sky.