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Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of the hottest hard rock bands to come out of Boston in recent years is Godsmack. The band started out small, gaining a following through word of mouth and local radio play. The band's debut album has gone multi-platinum, its second and third albums went platinum and its newest album, "Godsmack IV," was certified gold just two months after it hit the market. Even its acoustic EP, "The Other Side," went gold. With the new album's single, "Speak," Godsmack became the only rock band to achieve 13 top 10 hits in the Active Rock format.

In Maine, the rock quartet has a solid fan base. In 2001, the band received keys to the city of Portland and Sept. 10 was proclaimed Godsmack Day. Previous shows here have sold out, and Saturday's concert at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland is sold out, too.

What makes this rock band so hot?

There's the cool stage show. The band is almost as renowned for its stage show as it is its music. Fans have come to expect pyrotechnics and videography, says the band's drummer Shannon Larkin. Saturday's show won't disappoint, he says. "People will get a killer looking show, a killer sounding show and a tight (expletive deleted) band."
As much as the fans love the stage show, and the band thinks it's cool, too, Larkin points out it's not a crutch supporting the music. For the band and for the fans, the music is what makes Godsmack so hot.

Founded by Sully Erna, who spent more than 20 years as a drummer in other bands, Godsmack's sound includes interesting drum work. Erna and Larkin often perform a lengthy drum duet in the middle of the show, which the Boston Globe says leaves "the audience happily Smacked."

Godsmack is also not afraid to add non-hard rock elements to its hard rock sound.
It's practically a requirement for hard rock bands to be angry about something, but as the guys from Godsmack get older, says 39-year-old Larkin, there's just not as much to be angry about. "You can't sing about being pissed off about your girlfriend leaving you if you're happily married."

While the overall sound is still hard rock, fans will hear "mellower" elements in the new album, like lyrics about personal transformation instead of angry break-up songs. There are also orchestral samples from the Vienna Symphonic Library and blues influences. "As musicians," Larkin explains, "you don't want to keep playing the same songs over and over...We'd be bored to depression if we had to make the same record over and over again."

Breaking Benjamin and Hourcast are Godsmack's guests at the sold-out show Saturday.