Live Review: Godsmack "The Mayhem Festival" — San Bernardino, CA
Mon, 11 Jul 2011 08:16:56
Godsmack's good ole sonic beat down never fails.
In fact, the Boston metal juggernaut only becomes fiercer on stage with every subsequent album and tour. During the Rockstar Mayhem Festival's San Bernardino stop, Godsmack dispensed an hour of pummeling that proudly solidified their status alongside genre legends such as Pantera and Slayer who always kicked ass live—no matter what. With a simple backdrop, the quartet assaulted the stage via "Cryin' Like A Bitch" from 2010's The Oracle. The song swung like a sledgehammer from frontman Sully Erna's battering verse into a bruising refrain fueled by Tony Rombola's airtight axe work. "Straight Out of Line" rose from Robbie Merrill's brooding bass rumble into one of Erna's most powerful, precise, and pummeling choruses.
Raw conviction seeped right through the blazing guitar solo on "Awake", as every word Erna delivered impacted incisively. "Can't you see what this pain has fucking done to me," he intoned with a gruff earth-quaking growl. Erna stood in front of the drums with his guitar churning out feedback before the band launched back into the jagged, ripping stomp of "Speak". Another fiery lead from Rombola awakened all kinds of demons as Godsmack dropped right into "Love-Hate-Sex-Pain". Erna sounded perfectly entrancing as his haunting harmonies sailed off into the night. Merrill cranked out the slow dreamy bass line on "Voodoo" drawing a Led Zeppelin-style haze around the song as Erna led a massive sing-a-long. Then came the day's most vibrant display of instrumental brilliance. Drummer Shannon Larkin and Erna squared off in a mind-blowing drum solo that saw them both display numerous percussive fireworks while nodding to AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Metallica. Larkin's one of the few drummers on the planet who can technically dazzle while putting on an engaging enigmatic show behind the kit, and that's what he did.
"Whatever" incited moshpits across the amphitheater as the band delivered their classic call-to-arms with the same fury that made them one of the most important heavy bands of this generation. Before "I Stand Alone", Erna exclaimed, "I want to bring this back to the old school days of Slayer and Pantera". That mission was accomplished tenfold. Godsmack didn't need any pomp or circumstance; they simply came out and did everything a metal band's supposed to.
Were you there?
For our review of Disturbed at Mayhem, click here!
Watch our exclusive interview with Sully Erna about Mayhem, his solo album Avalon, and more here!
For even more with Sully click here!