On the brink
of unleashing its third full-length album, FACELESS, the multi-platinum
hard-rock group GODSMACK has already achieved more than most bands
could ever dream of.
The Boston-based group's 1998 self-titled
debut has sold four-million copies, propelled by the riff-tastic
sorcery of runaway hits such as "Bad Religion," "Whatever"
and "Keep Away."
It's critically acclaimed follow-up, AWAKE
-- fittingly released by the scary-flick aficionados on Halloween
2000--has thus far shipped nearly three-million units. That album's
title track dominated radio request lines and broke chart records
throughout 2000 and 2001. Another track from the album, "Vampires,"
was nominated in the Best Instrumental category at the 2001 Grammy
In 2002, GODSMACK mainman Sully Erna was tapped
by The Rock himself to A&R the soundtrack to The Scorpion
King, the third installment in The Mummy saga. The song that GODSMACK
itself contributed lived up to its title: "I Stand Alone"
was the No. 1 single at rock radio formats and the most played
Active Rock track in 2002. This track garnered two Grammy nominations
for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the 2003
The band closed out its promotional cycle
for AWAKE with a victory lap of sorts: well-attended arena tour
on which they finally brought to life the over-the-top gothic
staging the band members had always envisioned. GODSMACK's real
triumph was visible nightly from the stage when the band's high-on-fire
pyrotechnics illuminated arenas across the world. Crowds would
explode with applause when guitarist Tony Rombola and bassist
Robbie Merrill kicked off their dark, churning super-riffs. And
if you were to scan the arena during any one of those GODSMACK
performances, the band's true feat quickly came into focus. The
quartet holds sway over a pan-generational audience of male and
female hard-rock fans--not fickle trend-hoppers.
On this U.S. tour the band showed their patriotic
side when, post 9/11, they donated 100% of the sales of their
merch and portions of the venues' ticket sales to The Solidarity
Foundation, an organization benefiting the widows and orphans
of New York City firefighters and policemen.
Sure, Erna has copped to a fascination with
white magick. But that isn't how the band conjured its success.
Through the monolithic power of its tune-age, and a dedication
to fans via the road, GODSMACK has inherited the love and respect
generally accorded metal mainstays such as Black Sabbath, Metallica
and Pantera. Of course, the band didn't become the next link in
that chain overnight.
GODSMACK's earlier lineup solidified when
Rombola joined in 1995 . His pitch-black riffage perfectly complemented
Erna's lion's roar of a voice. After honing its sound and songs
on the club circuit, the band demoed an album's worth of tracks
with local producer-on-the-rise Andrew "Mudrock" Murdock.
The cost: $2500. The result: fame.
A Boston radio station put a few of the band's
tracks into rotation. Listener response was instantaneous. Soon,
a local record chain was selling 1000 copies per week of the band's
self-released disc. Major labels took note. Shortly thereafter,
Rombola and Erna were able to quit their day jobs in carpentry and
Universal/Republic ultimately won the bidding
war for GODSMACK, and released a re-mastered version of the self-titled
debut in summer 1998. Those above-noted sales figures and accolades
followed only after the band toured relentlessly, including wildly
received stints on Ozzfest, as well as on Woodstock '99.
Now, in 2003, GODSMACK is ready for round
three: FACELESS. With the aid of veteran producer David Bottrill
(Tool, King Crimson) and new drummer Shannon Larkin (formerly
of agit-rockers Amen), GODSMACK has evolved its sound in surprising
new ways, while retaining its unmistakable power and vision. As
Erna puts it, GODSMACK is ready once again to "kick a new
ass in this planet." Remain on heightened alert, planet.