Released: December 7, 2010
When Hinder first exploded onto the music scene, they blazed their path with a mix of post-grunge alternative metal and mainstream hard rock. While listeners immediately took to the Oklahoma based rockers, sending their debut album, Extreme Behavior to triple platinum status, critics roundly trashed the record.
With their second offering, 2008?s Take It To The Limit, the band opted for a more glam-metal sound, that while solid, it did little to push the band to the next level. For that reason, Hinder opted to take a different approach with their new record. Vocalist Austin Winkler said of the new approach; “We normally do whatever the label wants. But for this record, we had to do something different. We had to mix it up a little bit.”
With this month’s release of All American Nightmare. the band have found a sound that seems to fit them like an old pair of jeans. The best elements of their first two endeavors bleed over in Nightmare, but the new disc offers much more to fans. Winkler’s trademark smoke-tinged rasp is ever-present, but the overall feel of All American Nightmare is heavier, blusier, and gutsier than we’ve heard Hinder sound before. On Nightmare there exists a deep-rooted nod to Southern rock that helps make this the band’s finest effort so far.
The band looked at producer Howard Benson (Halestorm, Daughtry, Flyleaf) for this project, (a fine choice), but ultimately went with Kevin Churko, who did brilliant work on the new Ozzy Osbourne, Slash and In This Moment albums.
From the eerie opening and heavy crunch of “2 Sides of Me,” Hinder grabs the listener by the throat and makes one take notice. “This ain’t a love song,” sneers Winkler. With that opening line the band is placing you on notice — this is a statement album for the band. The title track, also the first single, lays it bare; take us as we are or take it somewhere else; this the tone set for the album.
Lynyrd Skynyrd vibe. “Whatcha gonna do when the whiskey ain’t workin’ no more?” There comes that time in all our lives where we have to face ourselves in that mirror, and Hinder brings that sobering moment home in aching style.
“Hey Ho” has a post-grunge, pop vibe, but turns into a fan friendly tongue-in-cheek rock anthem about getting out from under a bad relationship whose highpoint never even made it past the curb.
Many of the lyrical tapestries on Nightmare, are introspective pieces. “Everybody’s Wrong” has that feel. One of the more modern tracks on the record, the song is a moody, angsty rocker, and an album highpoint.
The requisite power-ballad comes in the form of “The Life,” another introspective track that’s destined to get lighters (er, cellphones) waving all the way to the nosebleed section.
The album finishes up with “Put That Record On,” arguably the best song Kid Rock never wrote. If this isn’t a hit for the band, then there is no justice…or good taste, in rock and roll anymore.
All American Nightmare gives listeners a heavy dose of classic rock homage while keeping one foot firmly grounded in their modern sound. The downside to anotherwise resounding success is lack of length (10 songs, talk about retro). The band wrote some 60 songs for the record and a couple of the ones that made the final cut felt like filler. Of course in this era of digital downloads, having a record with seven or eight solid tracks is a triumph. If you’ve a Hinder fan you should love this record. For those who never gave the band a real chance, this record should give you reason to take notice.
Hinder will be on tour in support of All American Nightmare throughout 2011, starting the year on the east coast before heading west in February. Until then, check out the album. If you go to their website and sign up for their mailing list you can download a free demo version of the “All American Nightmare” single.