Review Summary: A couple of weaker tracks aside, Fifteen is a varied effort that showcases the band at their peak following their reformation
Following their implosion in 2002 after the failure to hit any real success encountered with their sophomore effort Time Bomb, Buckcherry reformed in 2005 with a line-up consisting of just two of their previous members. However, this was not the samey, uninspired act that they had previously been as many were to find out on their 2006 release Fifteen. This was an album that garnered a fair amount of success off the back of the hit single Crazy Bitch, and showcases arguably the best work they have put out to date.
For those unaware of Buckcherry's sound, they play a sleazy brand of hard rock music in the vein of an artist such as Shinedown, incorporating some hard-hitting guitar riffs, very catchy choruses and overly confident vocal work. Also found throughout this release are the occasional slower songs such as fan favorite Sorry, a track driven by some great clean guitar work until the emotionally intensive chorus. Buckcherry's third effort is a mixed bag, with some great tracks mixed in among some not so good works, but there is definitely more to praise than to criticize. The guitar work from Keith Nelson is really great, from the infectious riffs to Crazy Bitch to the bombastic, up-beat intro to Sunshine. The latter of these two songs contains a fantastic solo to boot, showing some nice quick shredding and a neat sense for a guitar solo that contains a lot of melody. Whilst the riffs are not the most creative out there, they do a nice job of driving the songs forward, whilst new drummer Xavier Muriel gives many of these songs a lot of energy with his kit, throwing the occasional quick fill in to mark a transition in some of the music.
The real driving force of this album is vocalist Josh Todd, who is as energetic as they come, with his overly nasally and sleazy-sounding voice and lyrics that are slightly more mature than before, although still flooded with curse words. Everything is a particular highlight of his vocal work, with a lot of great lines in there, whilst his work on the softer side of the band actually sounds quite emotional. Unfortunately, not everything about this album is so great, with the bass work once again being sub par. Essentially, all the bassist does is crank out whatever Keith plays without ever really drifting off and writing his own material. Another problem is the lower quality of songs such as Onset. Whilst the lyrical content on this particular song is a cut above the average lyrics here, the instrumental work is some of the worst on the album and unfortunately Josh also fails to do anything special. This just sounds like a weaker Green Day song.
Fifteen is a solid release from Buckcherry that shows the talent of the majority of the band on numerous songs but unfortunately lets itself down with a sub-par bass performance and a couple of really awful songs. Recommended tracks are Crazy Bitch and Sunshine.