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Fans of Godsmack’s dark, swirling, commanding music will be delighted by the Boston band’s powerful third effort, which mixes arena rock in the vein of an Alice in Chains (in fact, Godsmack takes its name from an AIC song) with the aggression of Pantera. With new drummer Shannon Larkin (formerly of Amen), Godsmack stick with the riff-heavy, layered tunes and sharp, confident bridge-burning lyrics (witness the convincing vitriol of ”I F@?king Hate You”). Highlights include Sully Erna’s gut-spewing scream on ”Changes,” the memorable chorus and commanding assured ”I Stand Alone,” and the radio-ready ”Straight out of Line.” The tribal drums and chanting of the instrumental ”The Awakening” sets the stage for ”Serenity,” the final track, which brings Faceless full circle, the acoustic guitars, congas and strings providing a sinuous conclusion to a potent album. –Katherine Turman

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  • Godsmack have become household names in the rock world, thanks to two multi-million selling albums that put Godsmack on the map. After the double platinum AWAKE, where was Godsmack to turn? Nowhere, except up. FACELESS is a pummeling assault on the ears, the most metal album they have done, maybe even more so than their self-titled album (another version of ALL WOUND UP). Here, with new drummer Shannon Larkin, Godsmack turn up the volume and the crunch is even more prominent, with Tony Rambola’s vicious, teething guitar a back drop for Sully’s anguished, punishing vocals…even Robbie on bass provides a nice thick bottom to compliment Shannon’s nifty drumwork.

    “Straight Out Of Line” was meant for radio, but more so it’s a blistering assault on the ears. Likewise, “Re-Align” and the fierce and nasty “I F***ing Hate You” are both venomous yet catchy and downright crunchy. The title track is also a rollicking affair, and the inclusion of the classic “I Stand Alone” keeps the album’s intensity genuine. But most surprising is the similarity of ending the album with the swirling, brooding “Serenity” which certainly lives up to its name with its dreamy acoustic guitars and congas. It seems like a cousin to “Voodoo”, but “Serenity” has its own voice…a very soothing one at that. Make no mistake, though…most of FACELESS is meant to please the headbangers and metal fans who like the harder side of Godsmack. It certainly does possess the best assets of Godsmack…fierce, crunchy alterna-metal that will seep into your brain upon hearing it first listen.

    FACELESS represents the brutal beauty of Godsmack, their scars beared for all to see. Containing some of the most heavy songs written, and even two atmospheric tracks that compliment the end of the album nicely, FACELESS is another solid affair from the Boston area boys.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It was hard to distinguish Godsmack songs with two album, now it’s even harder with a third album that sounds exactly like the first two. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Godsmack has a pretty powerful sound. It’s just that Faceless doesn’t have any songs that will pass the test of time. The first album had Voodoo (which I will never get tired of) and the second album had Awake (best Godsmack song in my opinion). Sure, Faceless has Straight out of Line and I Stand Alone, but they don’t really stand out among the rest.So what does this album do if it doesn’t take Godsmack to a new level ? Well, it does the job. This is Godsmack like they were before and they don’t disappoint from that point of view. If you liked the first two albums, you’ll like this one. If you like the new single, Straight out of Line, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t like Faceless. If you didn’t care for this band before, you won’t start now. That’s about all there is to it.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Godsmack’s newest release gives what you got with “Awake”, and builds on that. When you heard “I Stand Alone” off of “The Scorpion King” soundtrack, it gave you a taste of what was to come from the Boston-based hard rock/metal band. Heavier riffs, stronger lyrics, and an overall sense of evolution for them. Just from the opening track, the first single, “Straight Out Of Line”, you can even tell that the once not-too-memorable solos have gotten greatly better. Godsmack’s talent has grown into an even more powerful force than before.Also, their new drummer, Shannon Larkin (formerly of Amen), proves his worth here with great & energetic pounding drum tracks. Sully’s vocals are as great as ever as he tears the lyrics from the depths of his being. Anger, frustration, a building rage, and an overall intensity define his vocal stylings. Tony Rombola’s guitar & Robbie Merrill’s bass both bring a powerful, headbanging groove to the album.Overall, I say this is Godsmack’s best album yet. It’s as heavy as “Awake”, but even more polished & solid. I listened to the entire album, track-by-track, and I didn’t have the urge to switch off one single song. It’s a rare thing for that to happen, and I applaud these Boston bad @$$es for crafting such a strong, unified album. With two and a half years between the releases of “Awake” and “Faceless”, they had the time to mold these 12 tracks into one helluva an awesome album!I would suggest getting the “Explicit” version or else you’ll miss out on the full-on bad @$$-ity that is “I F’ing Hate You”. Though, both the “explicit” and the “clean” versions are enhanced CDs that will take you to a special page on to access the album lyrics (not included in the booklet), some live tracks, the fan club, and more.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “Faceless” was the first Godsmack CD that I bought, and at first I thought it was great. Then I got the self-titled debut, and realized that Godsmack really lost it. One of the mian things that I see wrong with “Faceless” now is that there’s hardly any variety in the songs! If you listen to only one, it sounds great, but then when you listen to the entire CD, the songs start sounding the same. The reason for this, I believe, is that Shannon Larkin’s ride cymbal is too over-powering. It’s being played almost constantly during the opening guitar riffs of many of the songs, and it takes a lot away from the guitars. You can’t hear the heaviness of the songs as well as you might have been able to. Eventually, though, if you work hard enough, you start hearing the differences and it gets a lot better. Unfortunately, many people might not give this CD a second listen after hearing how similar everything sounds. For those of you that don’t give up right away, this album does become pretty good. The songs and my reviews for each are:

    1.) Straight Out Of Line (10/10): The war sounds in the beginning are pretty cool. The opening drumming is the best anywhere on the album- it’s just amazing. It remains great throughout. When the music starts, it sounds like the guitars are swirling around you as Sully yells in your face. It makes for a good song and a great opener. Tony solos the hell out of his guitar towards the end. The lyrics are chorus are pretty good.

    2.) Faceless (8/10): Not as good as “Straight Out Of Line,” but still decent. The guitar’s really chugging loudly on this song, and, along with the drumming, make this one of the heavier tracks. Once again, great lyrics and guitars all the way through, especially the solo in the middle. It’s too bad a lot of the later songs don’t have that…

    3.) Changes (7/10): Another mediocre song. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. Nothing really stands out on this track, but the lyrics are pretty good. Other than that, there’s nothing all that special.

    4.) Make Me Believe (10/10): My second favorite on the whole album. The opening guitar riff is amazing, as are the vocals. I especially like the chorus. The drumming is second only to that on “Straight Out Of Line.” From about 2:24-3:00 is great, because Sully slows it down and shows off his singing voice. “Make Me Believe” is just an amazing song all the way through.

    5.) I Stand Alone (7/10): This song’s nothing too special. You listen to it once and forget it, twice and you’re tired of it. But who knows, maybe a lot of people will like it.

    6.) Re-Align (10/10): My third favorite on the CD. The guitar riff is great, and this is one of the faster songs. Excellent lyrics and chorus. It’s obvious why they decided to add this to “The Other Side,” Godsmack’s acoustic CD. As with “Make Me Believe,” it’s great all the way through, though it’s not as heavy as some songs.

    7.) I F***ing Hate You (2/10): Ugh. This song is boring and tiring. The lyrics and anger sound too forced, and this track is probably why “Faceless” got a Parental Advisory slapped on it. It tries to be heavy but it’s not, it tries to be angry but it’s anything but, and it tries not to be forgotten quickly but it is. Seriously though, the lyrics are terrible! It’s kind of sad that they even decided to make a song like this…

    8.) Releasing The Demons (10/10): From the title, you would suspect that this song would sound scarier and stranger than it really does. The guitar riff is great, and there is some creepiness to the lyrics, but with name like Releasing The Demons, you’d expect something more. Great chorus though, and I like the start-and-stop of the guitars towards the end.

    9.) Dead And Broken (6/10): As with “Changes” and “I Stand Alone,” there’s nothing too special about this song, and it’s forgotten pretty quickly. I really don’t even remember anything about it, even though I just listened to it!

    10.) I Am (10/10): Great guitars, lyrics, and drumming. This song is one of my favorites. It’s one of the few tracks that has a really noticeable difference from everything else. All in all, a pretty good track.

    11.) The Awakening (5/10): This “song” is basically just tribal drums with some guy chanting in the background. At just over a minute, I’m guessing it’s a prelude to “Serenity,” like “The Journey” was to “Spiral” on Awake. In my opinion, it’s really just filler, but I gave it 5 out 10 because it’s good filler.

    12.) Serenity (10/10): My favorite song on the entire album. It’s the first Godsmack song I ever heard, and it remains my favorite. “Serenity” is entirely acoustic, but it’s still a great song, with amazing drumming and bass. What else can I say but WOW! You must go and listen to this song to see what I mean.

    OVERALL: 95/120, 79.2% 3 out of 5 stars

    This album’s not bad if you get used to it. I mainly bought it for the song “Serenity,” and I eventually began liking the rest of it. I would reccomend you buy the self-titled debut first though.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • To keep it short, this album is simply brilliant. The album retains the masterful, driving energy of its predecessors while at the same time revealing, growing lyrical depth and maturity in their song writing. New drummer Shannon Larkin brings new energy and excellent drumming skills to the table. While Godsmack’s drummers have never been less than great, Shannon seems to be the best so far. Personally I’d like to see Sully take the drums, but Shannon is great. Immediately one will notice that the songs seem more upbeat. From the getgo, the album opens with gunfire reminiscent of Metallica’s One. The drum salvo comes in with force, a common theme in the album, the drums are right there powering the songs. Godsmack, gone soft? Heck no! There as heavy as ever, except this time around they’ve got a middle eastern track on there, serenity that has some sweet string work by underrated guitarist Tony Rombola. Speaking of which, hes back, better than ever…he even abandons his wah pedal a couple of times on the album, like on one of the strongest offerings of the album, “Realign”, in which he delivers a superb solo worthy of praise. The songs are all masterfully crafted, drawing on Godsmacks strengths; its strong powerful lyrics and mesa-boogie amps and Gibson Les Paul guitars. Many of the songs hit you like a train with there drop C powered riffs. Every solo on the album is great, it is evident that Tony Rombola spent much more time on these solos, (a tribute to there long lockdown in a house isolated from outside musical influences in which they wrote this album.) Every song feels fresh and the album flows quite well. The riffs are more complex than before and the vocal melodies are better than ever, with Sully testing his range on such tracks as “Changes”, “Make Me Believe”, and “Realign” among others. Its admirable to see him moving to new levels with his trademark voice. He has also moved away from his typical bitter, even hateful lyrics, offering more inciteful reflective lyrics this time around although he clearly doesn’t abandon his roots as is shown in the track, “I *** hate you.”Although the album is a bit short for my tastes, clocking in at just over 47 minutes, every minute is great. Much more care has been taken in song construction and the songs now have some lead and more diverse structures even some clean portions! The casual metal fan will enjoy this album greatly and the Godsmack fan will love it, in my opinion it is there strongest album to date.1. Straight out of line – Great song, nice solo, solid riff, excellent drumming2. Faceless – Wah driven song, (think Whatever), great solo, very powerful3. Changes – Catchy nice chorus, great solo, good lyrics, solid riffing, excellent drumming4. Make Me Believe – Sully testing his range here, GREAT riff all around (look for the guitar part before chorus…heck yeah!), nice little solo as always, Good Bridge (More Sully experimentation, meaningful, almost sad lyrics5. I Stand Alone – Great solid song, nice chorus, great verse riff, superb drums (credit to Tommy Stewart there), pure Godsmack here6. Re-Align – perhaps the strongest offering here, a little reminiscent of awake on chorus riff, solid vocal melody, KILLER wah-less SOLO!7. I *** Hate you – Powerful Grinding riff that sucks you in, good lyrics for a hate song, typical godsmack song, but more energy and GREAT RIFF8. Releasing the Demons – very cool verses, nice guitar work, cool little syncopated bridge grind, classic “awake” like, but different at the same time.9. Dead and Broken – Great lyrically a little reminiscent of the style of “mistakes” in intro, nice verse riff, some cool tremolo pick classic Godsmack lead10. I Am – a little reminiscent in into of “trippin”, GREAT LYRICS, “Death will come when I’m good and ready!”, nice bridge classic ozzy/creed/metallica like bridge, nice background lead11. The Awakening – Think “The Journey” from awake, a congo drum solo intro thing to next track very cool, Shannons got skills baby12. Serenity – The “bands answer to voodoo”, sweet acoustic stuff and other strings, great, reflective lyrics, and a cool middle eastern feel, songs like this show Godsmacks great talents and diverse influenses, effectively closes album, great trackThis album is pure “energy rock”, as Sully stated. It takes all of Godsmacks strengths, adds more mature and reflective lyrics, some freaking awesome solos, better riffs, and an amazing drummer to the mix with great success. This is one of the best albums in my collection which is wide and diverse if I do say so myself. Buy this album, even if you don’t get it for $9 during the first week it is out, it is worth every penny of whatever its price. Buy it now and treat yourself to great music from one of the greatest bands of modern times.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now