Nickelback
Feed the Machine


3.0
good

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
June 19th, 2017 | 230 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bit different, a bit of the same. A bit better than usual, though.

I’m going to confront the elephant in the room head-on: no, this is not a grand reinvention of Nickelback’s tried-and-true style.

As much as many people want to see that (and seem to be expecting it), it might be too much to ask a band with such a recognizable comfort zone to immediately pull a 180-degree turn into new territory. But before you walk away from this review, keep reading. Feed the Machine, while pulling the same old stops for a Nickelback album, is easily the band’s most refined and energized product since their breakthrough hit Silver Side Up. Yep, after a whole 16 years of nonstop mockery and hate mail, Chad Kroeger and his band of post-grungers have decided to give us something a bit more dignified and well-written. And, all things considered, this is not a bad album by any means. If anything, it’s a somewhat solid mainstream rock offering with strong hints of alternative metal strewn about. One wishes the band’s potential could have been touched upon years ago, but you know the old saying: “better late than never.”

The oddest thing about Feed the Machine, and the reason that it ultimately falls short of greatness, is that it straddles multiple styles in a seriously imbalanced way. Hearing the heavy downtuned - and even surprisingly progressive - metal anthem “The Betrayal (Act III)” coupled with bland ballads like “Every Time We’re Together” and “Song on Fire” might end up causing rifts in Nickelback’s already-polarized fanbase, just as the varied levels of lyrical quality could as well. That said, the variety is still fun once in a while. The intro to the cheesy rocker “Must Be Nice,” while pretty standard for Nickelback’s typical cock-rock fare, is so groovy and bluesy that the flaws are much less noticeable by comparison. The heavier moments found on songs like the title track and “Coin for the Ferryman” are aggressive as hell in this outing, and they occasionally contrast well with the sappy balladry that causes the album’s tonal imbalance. The band have also upped their game on the musicianship front; while famed Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt has to carry the solo duties on “For the River,” Chad Kroeger and Ryan Peake are able to bust out some decent solos and melodies in their own right. While the rhythm section is as boring as it’s always been, the increased chemistry and personality of the guitar work were a neat surprise.

The truth is, the best moments on Feed the Machine are the ones in which the band throw their old mainstream shackles away and just embrace metal. The ballads here sound both tired and dated, and simply don’t suffice in a discography that’s already drenched in tired ballads. In fact, I swear the chorus of “After the Rain” rips off the main melody to “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida. And as I mentioned, some of these songs sound ridiculously dated. The uptempo power ballad “Silent Majority,” while at least exuding some energy, sounds like it came straight from an old post-grunge edition of Now That’s What I Call Music that would have been popular in the mid-2000s. It offers nothing new or interesting, and just results in another skippable tune for the listener to filter out. With this in mind, I must still admit that some of the experiments on the album result in highly rewarding payoffs. The two biggest here are the chunky, aggressive riffing of “Coin for the Ferryman” and the progressive metal stylings of “The Betrayal (Act III).” These songs completely abandon the band’s old cliches to deliver something that’s honest-to-god fun and steeped in genuine effort. They’re heavy, they have memorable riffs, and they present the true stylistic stepping stones in this experience.

For the first time in quite a while, I didn’t really know what rating I’d give Feed the Machine or whether to recommend it. This is a classic case of Nickelback giving us really nice songwriting and concepts before shooting themselves in the foot for making stupid decisions at the cusp of greatness. I will say that the positive aspects of Feed the Machine are some of the best things I’ve ever heard from this band, but they really need to decide whether to move forward with these changes or to replant themselves in the past. This half-and-half deal isn’t quite going to cut it, and it might end up warding off more of their fanbase than the usual Nickelback record because of it. But, because of those positives, I think Feed the Machine deserves a slight recommendation at the end of the day. It may not sway ardent haters, but those who are genuinely interested in hearing the band touch up their sound and try some new things might find something they enjoy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
June 19th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I was stuck between a 2.5 and a 3, but I decided to be nice

SteakByrnes
June 19th 2017


14566 Comments


Hehe funny meme le nickelback XD

Good review tho my guy

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 19th 2017


30213 Comments


Nice to see some love for this. I haven't heard it yet but I've never hated the band as much as everyone else. Very good review too, an easy pos.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

RLWFormula
June 19th 2017


287 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hate the band (who doesn't), but this album is OK.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2017


11680 Comments


Good review man, going to check this soon, I'm intrigued by the feedback for this one thus far and I do enjoy this band from time to time.

Little nitpick, it feels like you mentioned "The Betrayal" three times in basically the same way across the review, maybe cut or change a couple of those instances?

DivergentThinking
June 19th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys



@ScuroFantasma: Yeah, I was thinking about cutting one of those out. Thanks for the feedback

Flugmorph
June 20th 2017


20869 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

a bad album disguised as an ok nickelback album

Digging: La Dispute - Panorama

DivergentThinking
June 20th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I can definitely understand a viewpoint like that. This certainly isn't as much of a departure from their old work as I was expecting, especially with how much it was hyped up. Still, I actually enjoyed a few of their older albums, and this fits in with those pretty nicely

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2017


15240 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not saying much though.

DivergentThinking
June 20th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I think the problem is that the phrase "surprisingly not that bad" immediately became a way of trying to say this album's some great, revolutionary piece of music that would redefine Nckelback's whole career. Despite being an alright album (in my opinion at least), I could never bring myself to say that.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2017


15240 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well I can't abide them, so... But I managed to get through the album, so that says something.

DivergentThinking
June 20th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"But I managed to get through the album, so that says something."



Lol, that's better than one could say about some of their other work, especially Dark Horse and Here and Now

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2017


15240 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nah, couldn't sit through those ones. ha

DivergentThinking
June 20th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I can't blame you. That was when the band were getting to be especially bad, particularly with all those boring, sexist hard rock jams that only served to sink their reputation even further

ZombieToyDuck
June 20th 2017


7074 Comments


Tried posting an news item about Chad Kroeger calling Stone Sour "Nickelback Lite" but guessing that didn't get approved by the mods. I just was gunna post it for a laugh anyhow but if ya'll didn't see that interview its laughable.

http://www.metalinjection.net/latest-news/feuds/chad-kroeger-slams-corey-taylor-calls-stone-sour-nickelback-lite-challenges-taylor-to-write-a-hit-song

Also nice review, won't be checking this but your unbiased review is refreshing especially since it's for a Nickelback album.

MuhNamesTyler
June 20th 2017


6512 Comments


Lol saw that yesterday. Kroeger is such an idiot

StarsDie
June 20th 2017


64 Comments


"I will say that the positive aspects of Feed the Machine are some of the best things I’ve ever heard from this band, but they really need to decide whether to move forward with these changes or to replant themselves in the past."

Guarantee with 100% certainty that they will not move forward with any type of artistic integrity. Solely what this band does is lick the tip of their finger and stick it up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Whatever way is most able to sell albums they'll follow through on.

I don't know if it's necessarily that cynical and the band members are that aware of their own lack of soul, or if it's just that they are so unaware of themselves that they actually LOVE what they do and think they are really offering up something artistically relevant. Chad's recent comments lend credence to the idea that they have no self-awareness at all. Sad.

Digging: Aephanemer - Prokopton

rodrigo90
June 20th 2017


5201 Comments


LOOOK AT THIS GRAAAAAPHHHHHH

DivergentThinking
June 20th 2017


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

^ lol, I love that video

AsleepInTheBack
June 20th 2017


5952 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Still pumping out stellar reviews, good job man. Will actually check this, never hated Nickelback as much as most



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