Drummer-turned-front man Sully Erna has two rules for Godsmack's live shows: Everybody has to be loud, and nobody can sit down. But most Godsmack crowds already know that. Longtime fans also know to show up wearing all black, preferably with a few piercings and a couple of tattoos. No matter what you wear, the Grammy Award-winning, hard-hitting heavy metal band will keep you entertained. They clawed their way up Boston's tough club circuit, recording their first album for just a few hundred dollars and selling CDs at their live shows. Eventually they scored some radio airplay and got signed to a label. Constant touring and a couple of lucky breaks, like getting on the Scorpion King movie soundtrack and an arena tour with metal gods Metallica, have helped the group to get on top of the charts (2003's Faceless hit the No. 1 spot the first week out). Godsmack's latest release, IV, out last April, is doing well, in part because the quartet (Erna on "vocals & stuff," Robbie Merrill on the "4 string thing," Tony Rombola on guitars and Shannon Larkin on "drums & concussions") varies its sound. Sure, there's the hard-driving "Voodoo" that you'd expect from a bunch of metalheads. But there's also the haunting ballad "Hollow," with additional vocals by Lisa Guyer. Merrill helps out on the songwriting duties (he wrote four of IV's ten tracks), but Godsmack is Erna's plaything. He does the bulk of the writing, all of the singing, occasionally trades drum solos with Rombola and even pulls out his harmonica from time to time.
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Olivia Flores Alvarez