Godsmack – 1000hp Review

Godsmack_1000hpScientists agree that post-9/11 alternative rock is unquestionably the lowest point in both American culture and human history. Out of that entire era, one band stands tall above the shit heap of tribal tats, soul patches, and whining. That band is Godsmack. Yes, there are bands that are even less talented, and some that are more insulting to music lovers. But Godsmack has just the right combination of blatant unoriginality and shallow suburban angst, unrivaled in their ability to annoy me while enthralling the rest of middle-class ‘Murricah.

1000hp is Godsmack’s first album in 4 years, fresh off a brief hiatus (and a DUI trial). For those of you with short memories, the opening title track recaps Godsmack’s origin story, a la Halford’s “Made In Hell.” Except without the cool parts about wizards and Satan. Behold the first verse:

Time to rewind
Back to 1995 when we were nothing
Walking through the streets of Boston no one listening
No one caring about the empty rooms we played
Until they all showed up one day

They seem to have left out the part about tracing their logo out of an Alice In Chains album. But more importantly, this makes no linear sense. So no one was coming to see their band…but then everyone just showed up at once? Also, if I ever hear someone say “back to 1995” like it’s a good thing, I’m going to smash them in the face with a copy of Load.

“Something Different” is a pretty typical mid-tempo alt rock tune, except it has a violin solo because, y’know, these guys are sensitive. “What’s Next” is a stab at legitimate metal, with an entry-level Lamb Of God riff and double kick drums. The results are surprisingly non-terrible, but the band is clearly a bit out of their comfort zone. “Generation Day” is the very definition of “generic” musically, but contains vocalist Sully Erna’s best performance of the album. When he stops trying to be Layne Staley and/or sound tough, he’s actually not half-bad.


The guy in front is standing on two milk crates.

“Locked & Loaded” is hysterically over the top, with Erna telling an unnamed nemesis that “all (he) does is talk shit”, that he will “break your face,” and of course “you’re dead.” The next track, “Living In The Grey,” continues the trash talk somewhat, with Sully describing his enemy as “cold, stubborn, and so vain,” and whose “head’s a one-way street.” Godsmack seems to have a lot of songs like this, and the constant “you talkin’ to me?” posturing makes me wonder if Erna would benefit from talk therapy, or perhaps yoga. These songs make me envision a small dog barking at the asshole of a much larger dog.

“I Don’t Belong” does boast some tasty rhythms courtesy of longtime drummer Shannon Larkin (ex-Wrathchild America). Larkin has always been a fantastic drummer, and while Godsmack undoubtedly pays the bills, it’s a fucking shame that his talent is not being put to better use elsewhere. But back to “I Don’t Belong.” Lyrically, this is the tale of a wealthy caucasian guy in a band that sells millions of records, singing about how he “doesn’t fit in.” I believe this is called “irony,” or perhaps “complete lack of self-awareness.”

After the 5th or 6th track, things start to blur together into an indistinguishable heap of drop-D riffs and empty posturing. The final track, “Turn To Stone,” contains some of the “tribal” elements that made “Voodoo” such a panty dropper back in the day. It’s hardly brilliant, but at least it stands out from the tracks preceding it.

I don’t even know how to properly score this album. By AMG standards, this album is pretty lame and weak. However, judged by its own merits, it does precisely what it’s supposed to, and it’s probably about as good as all their other albums. So once again, Godsmack has delivered the perfect soundtrack to watching pro wrestling, catching chlamydia, and beating people up. Just in time for back-to-school season!

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps MP3
Label: Universal Records
Websites: godsmack.com
Release Dates: Out Worldwide 08.05.2014

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