Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Review: Godsmack, "The Other Side"

Acoustic sets are a tricky thing for hard rock bands. For every Alice in Chains or Tesla that gets it right, there are a dozen bands that take the stage with an acoustic and bang out the same power chords they use with an electric. Without the wailing wall of distortion, all of the weaknesses are exposed.

Luckily, Godsmack is one of the bands that gets it right. On "The Other Side," the band offers up acoustic versions of several of their songs, along with three new tracks.

Godsmack shows an impressive side on this album, that they've hinted at before on songs like "Voodoo" and "Serenity." The most impressive and surprising moment on the album is a reworking of their heavy hit "Awake." They've renamed it "Asleep" for this version and changed it from a pounding headbanger to a melancholy ballad. It gives a whole new signifigance to the song's subject.

I was also a bit surprised by how well other heavy tunes like "Re-Align" and "Keep Away" translated into acoustic numbers. They perhaps hovers a bit close to the "same three chords" approach, but the songs take on a warm, rootsy feel that works well.

Of the three new songs, the most interesting is "Touché," which features members of Dropbox, the first signing to Godsmack singer Sully Erna's label. It's got a twangy, almost country feel that's a bit out of character for the band. All in all, "The Other Side" reminds me a lot of Alice in Chains' "Jar of Flies," and that's a very good thing. This album shows that Godsmack isn't a one-trick pony and further reinforces their position as one of the top hard rock acts out there.

Get "The Other Side."

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