Godsmack and Adema

I've always considered agonized Boston alt-metallers Godsmack the poor man's Staind: bellowed vocals, no rapping, depressive guitar chug, moody sleeve art. (I suspect the band sees itself as the poor man's System of a Down, if the ham-handed rhythmic sophistication of current album Faceless' 12 shades of gray is to be believed.) Universal Records agrees with me: The band's next scheduled release is an acoustic mini-album called The Other Side originally set for release November 18 but just pushed back to sometime next summer; whenever it comes out it'll be an obvious play for those metalheads moved by Staind's very serious Unplugged appearance, and why not? Impassioned strumming always makes for a nice break from depressive chug on the radio, just as it does on Faceless, where "Beds Are Burning"-ish closer "Serenity" effectively layers minor chords over subdued tabla murmur. Not sure which poor men dig openers Adema, who do a little strumming on "Promises," which would be fine post-emo fluff if it weren't surrounded by the rest of new album Unstable's rote Howard Benson-produced grind. Evidently, front man Mark Chavez shares a parent with Korn's Jonathan Davis, a fact he'll never, ever be allowed to forget. Sorry, bro.

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