Godsmack

IV

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    6
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Godsmack may never garner the kind of praise that's bestowed upon its obvious influences (Metallica, Alice in Chains, Tool), but the hard-working Boston quartet has managed to stay at the top of the alternative metal heap for nearly eight years. IV, produced by frontman Sully Erna, doesn't stray too far from the formula, relying on big midtempo brooders and heavy, drop-D riffs to work in the usual themes of loneliness, betrayal, and the overuse of the word "bleeding." For the most part it's cliché done well -- the record opens with an audio collage of children saying their prayers before bed -- and the band can turn it up to 11 with the best of them. Stadium-sized cuts like "Speak," "Enemy," and "Temptation" are sure to please the masses -- they even bring out the vocoder for "No Rest for the Wicked" -- and fans brought into the fold with 2004's acoustic Other Side EP will eat up the pensive, mandolin-led "Hallow," but there's little growth to be found, resulting in a textbook-executed slice of commercial aggression.

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