GODSMACK has, more often than not, been unfairly lumped together with the majority of the other Nu Metal bands that came out around the time they became popular in the US. Their first album may have had that Nu Metal tinge to it, but since then the band has enjoyed a lot of new and inspirational paths, some being successful and others not so much. So when “The Oracle” finally found its way into my speakers, it was a nice change of pace to hear the band reverting back towards their hard hitting Hard Rock and straight up Heavy Metal roots.
“The Oracle”, overall, is definitely a return to their punch riff happy, Grunge toned form. Combinations of those catchy riffs, drum flares, and Sully Erna’s patented bluesy singing and occasional harsh tones all make their appearances here. The band still experiments here and there a bit with certain songs, which will be explained more here in a bit, but the band hits their foundations hard on this album. It will be appreciated from their fans considering the light sided attempt at experimentation that was “IV”. The opening track and lead off single, “Cryin’ Like A Bitch”, may strike one as rather immature and simplistic, but its this foundation that they can build upon and it’s a nice reminder of what fun the band could be. It kicks off this ideology nicely (the song grows on one eventually) and this thread is carried through the entire album.
Now with their riff focused, rhythm section heavy, crooned based songs there is a sense that the band is still pushing boundaries still. “Devil’s Swing” has a killer swing beat to the song that is borderline danceable, “Forever Shamed” sounds a bit more like Punk than Hard Rock, and the final closer “The Oracle” is a long winding instrumental that touches on acoustic, Thrash, and even Groove. The band may seem more cohesive and up front with their riffs and song writing on this record, but there is a lot of experimentation too. They even go back to a Grunge sound once or twice so fans of the really old material will enjoy that.
It smells like GODSMACK is cooking up a bit of redemption on “The Oracle” from their previous meandering record. This release is one of the better albums that this modern band has issued out and even comes close to hitting the high point that was “Faceless”. The album does have a few moments of filler here or there but overall it’s a solid listen and a nice return for a band that is more often than not unfairly judged.
Songs to check out: “Saints And Sinners”, “What If?”, “Devil’s Swing”.
(Online June 27, 2010)