Godsmack's first, slow-burning success -- the self-titled debut from 1998 -- spent two years climbing charts and selling records as the witchy minstrels of alternative metal wound their way across the country on two consecutive Ozzfest tours. The sound was familiar enough, recalling Alice in Chains in both vocalist Sully Erna's tortured howls and their very name, taken from that band's excellent 1992 release, Dirt. And while it initially failed to impress critics, fans quickly picked up on the band's industrial touch to the post-grunge sound. Likewise, 2001's Awake was regarded by some as a sophomore slump, with only half of the sales of Godsmack's debut, but "slump" in this case equaled double-platinum. And though the sales did validate the band's effort to some extent, Awake was full of growing pains, as they tried in vain to shed their influences and ended up with a record that had successful moments, but its reliance on stop-start rhythms often left it sounding sorely underwritten. Faceless, Godsmack's third full-length, grooves more fluidly than Awake, but the band still hasn't managed to locate the pop hooks that made their debut a success. And while concentrating on texture can be just as interesting as hooks, lyrics as misanthropic as Erna's only sink Faceless further into the mire.
Wade Kergan, Rovi