Review: GODSMACK Can't Hide Flaws When Unplugged

Gemma Tarlach of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed GODSMACK's acoustic performance at the Eagles Ballroom Wednesday night (Dec. 1).

"The songs that worked best during the set — 'Serenity', 'Voodoo' and a new song yet to be recorded — were GODSMACK tunes that are already turned down a few notches on the volume dial," she wrote. "The band's angrier fare, such as 'Keep Away', came off simply as regular-strength GODSMACK with undermixed vocals and guitar.

"The pseudo-acoustic theme of the evening actually amplified GODSMACK's main weakness — stunted creativity. Too many songs stick to the same limited range of rhythms, vocal lines, lyrical subjects and even guitar riffs. With band members seated on stools and [frontman Sully] Erna scaling back his traditional extended solo at the drum kit — this time it was bongos, thanks very much — there was little to distract from the monotony of the band's repertoire.

The most revealing moment of the show came during the encores, when the band busted into a faithful cover of 'No Excuses', the ALICE IN CHAINS song that the influential Seattle act itself performed during a now-classic appearance on 'MTV Unplugged'.

"The members of GODSMACK are certainly competent musicians, and they nailed the cover — no surprise, given that they're big enough fans themselves to have named their band after the ALICE song 'God Smack'.

"As Erna and bandmates re-created the melancholic vocal harmonies of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell, and the bluesy playfulness of Cantrell's guitar lines, the song's complexity and nuance emerged — and underscored how little of either GODSMACK has in its own music." Read more.

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