Clash of the Titans: Godsmack and Five Finger Death Punch
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 10:23:01
"I want to see this place bouncing like the days Pantera was ruling this motherfucker," exclaimed Godsmack frontman Sully Erna towards the end of his band's triumphant show at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles last night.
Erna got his wish, and the place exploded like it was The Great Southern Trendkill tour all over again. That explosion was collectively detonated by two of modern hard rock's fieriest acts—Godsmack and Five Finger Death Punch. Their cross-country jaunt may have come to an end in Los Angeles, but this pairing will long be cherished by metal heads nationwide that caught it.
Godsmack's set has evolved into a legendary display of entrancing production and airtight and tough playing. After an ominous video of all kinds of music censorship, a giant orange sun drew everyone's attention to the center stage. The band's numerous cabinets floated up into the sky like something out of an episode of Dark Shadows. Slowly, the sun rotated to reveal drummer Shannon Larkin inside of it, and the rest of the band assaulted the stage.
"Cryin' Like a Bitch" immediately kicked the crowd in the teeth as Tony Rombola fired off a raw riff bitch-slap. Erna sounded pummelingly pristine, powering through the hook as the crowd chanted along. Bathed in soft blue and red lights, Godsmack then sonically soared higher than the floating amps on "Straight Out of Line." The militaristic psychedelic stomp of "Awake" stirred the very ground itself as Rombola ripped through the solo. Erna especially shined on the band's classic, summoning demons into the groove as he belted out the primal and catchy chorus.
Another incendiary cut from Godsmack's phenomenal fifth album The Oracle, "War and Peace," swung and stabbed from the interwoven attack of Rombola's sweetly sharp guitar and Erna's powerful delivery. "The Oracle" began with a raw instrumental exorcism that evolved into a thrashed out punk-y break from Erna's guitar. Terminator-style lasers and spotlights prefaced "The Enemy," perfectly setting the stage for an extended "Keep Away." The band even dropped in the refrain from Pantera's "Walk," which couldn't have been more perfect for the song's groove beatdown. Robbie Merrill's creepy bass crawl injected a tribal vibrancy into "What If?" as Erna hummed along to Larkin's rhythms. Noir-style visuals swirled in the background of "Love Hate Sex Pain," while "Voodoo" illuminated just how diverse Godsmack truly are. Erna's dark croon drove the song to a poignant place, while the airy instrumentals painted their own picture.
After "Voodoo," two drum kits slid to the front of the stage as Larkin and Erna shared a hypnotic dual solo. Erna tapped out a mindblowing passage with his hands as Larkin once again proved why he's one of the planet's best drummers with all kinds of percussive fireworks and spectacular showmanship.
The show culminated on a rousing rendition of "Whatever" complete with a Braveheart charge on the floor, and Erna and Co. certainly proved why they're one of the most incredible live acts that hard rock has ever seen.
Speaking of incredible live bands, Five Finger Death Punch dazzled with a deadly and undeniable show all their own preceding Godsmack. Right when they hit the stage, singer Ivan Moody made a throat-slashing motion that was portentous of the aural blood-letting to come.
"Burn It Down" snaked from Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook's slyly syncopated tandem guitar attack into an arena-destroying groove equally powered by Matt Snell's bass and Jeremy Spencer's percussive violence. Moody maintained an animalistic poise that continually separates from the pack. He stomped along with the harmony of "Hard to See," as he perfectly carried the hook to Hell and back. The crowd stood transfixed at the frontman, chanting along to every line. Five Finger Death Punch are everything that a metal band should be and so much more.
A death-defying drum solo from Spencer paved the way for a rousing "Bad Company." During "White Knuckles," Moody pulled three young fans from the front row on stage and announced, "Say hello to the next generation of heavy fucking metal!"
During the bridge, the crowd roared, and Moody laughed, "Thanks fellas. Those guys just made my fucking night."
Moody and co. made everyone else's night. With a lone spotlight on him, the singer sang the hook for "Far from Home," pulling all eyes toward him magnetically. "The Bleeding" spilled an avalanche of emotions from Moody as he summoned Maynard James Keenan and Layne Staley all within one track. Bathory and Hook ripped through one last combo solo, and the band left the stage victorious.
Hopefully, Godsmack and Five Finger Death Punch come back together real soon…
Were you there?
Watch our video interview with Sully of Godsmack on his solo album Avalon below!
Watch our video interview with Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch below!