Changes are minimal, but stronger consistency wins over
It wasn’t an overnight success upon its release in 2005, but three years after, Hinder’s sophomore effort Extreme Behavior managed to achieve triple platinum success in the U.S., making the Oklahoma outfit one of the hottest acts on the hard rock scene. As expected, with such a meteoric rise in such a short time, the band’s follow-up effort Take it to the Limit (2008) failed to recreate the same success, even if the album did manage to sell enough to reach gold status on the back of a few hit singles.
With the underwhelming reaction to their last release, Hinder (who comprise of vocalist Austin Winkler, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Joe Garvey, rhythm guitarist/pianist/backing vocalist Mark King, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Rodden and drummer Cody Hanson) have taken time out to rethink their sound and direction, change producers (long time producer Brian Howes has been replaced by Kevin Churko) and return with their latest effort All American Nightmare - an album that has the band claiming its their strongest yet.
The first thing that hits you about the opening track 2 Sides of Me is the heavier sound the band has gone for this time around. The upfront guitar sound is a welcome change of tact, and Winkler’s rawer vocal presence compliments the rockier atmosphere the band is clearly aiming for.
The first single/promotional video clip from the album All American Nightmare manages to retain the heavier vibe of the opening track in places, but retains enough space to allow an undeniably huge hook around the chorus to stand out, while the semi-acoustic southern rock semi-ballad What Ya Gonna Do (the second single from the album) has clearly been crafted to catch the ear of the masses with its repetitive lyrical prose and huge sing-a-long chorus.
The acoustic/hard rocking Hey Ho is a bit of a failed experiment with its cliché lyrics and hip hop references, while the addition of strings to the power ballad The Life inevitably ends up sounding reminiscent of the safe territory that Nickelback have successfully been mining for years. But while the album does have a few misguided efforts, Hinder does manage to produce some really strong efforts as well, namely with the guitar driven Waking Up The Devil, the not so subtle stab at today’s pop stars in Striptease and the band’s tribute to the ‘80’s on Put That Record On.
Hinder haven’t totally reinvented themselves on their fourth effort, and the same issues that plagued their former albums (cliché lyrics and predictable song writing) still blemish here. But overall, All American Nightmare is a solid release from the band, and at least manages to entertain more than it disappoints with greater consistency. In other words, if you’re a fan of the band’s earlier albums, you’ll find Hinder know exactly what you want to hear, and duly deliver.
(Universal Republic Records/Universal Motown Group)