In doing my research for this review, I learned one thing: Godsmack is a band you either love or hate.

They’re either a good rock band with a unique enough sound to separate them from the herd.

Or they’re a shameless Alice in Chains rip off.

The pendulum does not hang in the middle for this one.

But I don’t either;, I’m leaning toward the former.

The Oracle is, like most other Godsmack releases, aggressive, but there’s definitely a different sound to this album compared to its predecessors.

It’s well-rounded.

In a way, it’s a blending between “old” Godsmack and “new” Godsmack.

Of course, that may be due to the fact that they took four years off and then made this album, but that’s neither here nor there.

Starting this off, I want to compliment the instrumentation right away.

It’s tight, it’s professional.

From the first few notes of the opening track, I could tell this album was different.

Now, I’m not saying that their early works weren’t professional, but there’s certainly some voodoo going on here that makes this one stand out.

Before I get sidetracked onto something else, the vocals on this album cut right through the mix and are crystal clear.

In fact, the vocals are my favorite aspect of this album.

In a few of the choruses, the background vocals will sing at a higher pitch and harmonize quite nicely with the foreground baritone vocals.

It’s very nice to listen to.

Going along with crystal clear, I can say the same for the rest of the instruments as well, especially the bass guitar, or the “4 string thing” as Godsmack tends to call it.

You can actually hear it!

And I don’t mean “hear it” as in “feel it.” You can actually hear the bassist thumping on the strings.

It’s great!

I know it’s a musical joke that the bassist isn’t important, but the bassist should have a presence on the album.

The fact that you can hear it in the mix gets a thumbs up from me.

Every song on this album showcases this quality of musicianship, and they all flow together rather nicely.

However, the spotlight goes to the song, “Love-Hate-Sex-Pain,” which I will argue is the best song that Godsmack has ever written.

Whenever I think about this album, I always think about this song, and for good reason.

It’s different, but for the right reasons.

It’s still the same Godsmack style, but there’s so much more melody in the vocals than normal, and as I previously mentioned, the instrumentation is tight.

Every time I listen to it, I think “These guys definitely know what they’re doing.”

Moving on, the presentation of the album is great as well.

The album cover contains a cloudy sphere, which I presume is the titular Oracle, filled in with dark shades of red, orange and black, surrounded by a terracotta aura.

Underneath the sphere is the Godsmack sun, bathed in bright red-orange, with a spackle of yellow mixed in.

These warm colors make it very pleasant to look at.

I’ve been extolling the virtues of this album for quite a bit at this point; I don’t really have anything negative to say about it, surprisingly.

A couple songs may have bland lyrics or are just a little bit longer than they should have been.

Overall, these do not detract from the album as a whole, and I found my listening experience to be rather enjoyable.

Final Rating: B+

As it’s approaching its 10th anniversary, I would recommend giving The Oracle a listen.

With only 10 songs, it’s a short, solid album that knows its place and doesn’t overstay its welcome.