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Godsmack - IV, Universal Music Group

With their latest album simply titled IV, Boston's Godsmack offers up its most diverse release yet. Don't worry; there are plenty of the heavy, kick-ass tracks the band is known for - "The Enemy," "No Rest For the Wicked," "Bleeding Me" and "Temptation." Each has that instantly recognizable Godsmack sound with potential to become a staple in the band's catalog. However, the haunting ballad "Hollow" is unlike anything Godsmack's done before. It showcases the band's songwriting maturity and features female backing vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin, strings and cello. Other highlights are the melodic and catchy "Shine Down" and the bluesy "One Rainy Night." Much in the same vein as
Metallica's "Unforgiven Too," Godsmack revisits their 1998 classic "Voodoo" with the sequel, "Voodoo Too." Sully Erna (vocals), Tony Rombola (guitars) and Robbie Merrill (bass) turn in their best performances to date, while new drummer Shannon Larkin seamlessly fits into the band. This really is a great album.

(Andy Laudano)