With alternative rock ruling the musical roost during much of the 1990s, and heavy metal all but sidelined as yesterday’s news, as a result, Massachusetts’ Godsmack found a way to mesh the best of both worlds and enjoyed overnight success with their signature alternative metal sound. First formed in 1995 by longtime drummer-turned-frontman Sully Erna, Godsmack took their name and some, but not all, of their musical cues from grunge giants Alice in Chains, before recording their 1997 debut album, ‘All Wound Up,’ on a shoestring independent budget. The next year, Godsmack scored a major label deal with Universal/Republic, and Erna, guitarist Tony Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill, took full advantage of the opportunity by delivering an upgraded, self-titled version of their first album that would go on to sell over six million copies. The band (which hired Tommy Stewart as their touring drummer) also latched onto the Ozzfest juggernaut for the next two years, and continued to build its fan base ahead of 2000’s ‘Awake’ and 2003’s ‘Faceless,’ which introduced former Ugly Kid Joe drummer, Shannon Larkin, into the band. But their record sales had begun sagging, despite ever more high profile tours, so after issuing 2006’s Andy Johns-produced ‘IV’ and the next year’s ‘Good Times, Bad Times’ best of set, Sully decided to take a break from Godsmack for a few years. The band returned in 2010 with the gold-certified ‘The Oracle,’ then recorded its sixth album, ‘1000HP,’ and while their popularity has evidently waned over the years, Godsmack can look to their four Grammy nominations and estimated 20 million albums sold as proof of their career achievements.


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