Review Summary: It is a slight step up from the first Dutton record, but is still pretty unthreatening and uninteresing music that doesn't seem to have any future appeal to mainstream audiences
There were a lot of post grunge bands in the mid 00'd that had their 15 minutes of fame, and then after 1 or 2 more records have completely fallen off the map. Hinder is a great example of this; they got big because of one single, and everything else they released was pretty much completely passed over. Everything after 2008's 'Take it to to the Limit' not only failed to reach chart success, but didn't even manage to get close to any certification. It certianly didn't help that the most defining thing in the band, Austin Winkler's voice, left the group in 2013. While his lyrics were always very personal to him, they usually came off overly cheesy and also kind of corny.
Marshall Dutton replaced him, and in 2015 they released 'When the Smoke Clears', their first record without Austin. While critics didn't really even touch this one, it was completely panned by fans. Songs were generic, lyrics were mediocre at best, and Marshall's voice was not only very rough, but it didn't even fit the sound of their music. As a fan of Hinder, I was disappointed on really every level, and did not anticipate the new record at all.
That being said tho, lead off single "Remember Me" surprised me in a fairly positive way. The riffs very pretty decent, Marshall's voice worked for once, Joe Garvey performed a very good solo, and overall it sounded pretty engaging, and that got me excited for the record.
Too bad it turned out to be almost equally as bland as its predecesor. There are a few okay moments, some flashes of decent guitar work and even some nice pianos, but there is really nothing to write home about. Songwriting is sub-par, there are little to no memorable hooks, which was Hinder's best card back in the day, Marshall's voice is a bit better this time around, but it's still pretty aggravating and I doubt these are the real drums thrown in the mix, as they sound like they're played on a drum pad instead of a drum kit.
There is a decent hook on "King of the Letdown", and some fun melody going on in "Loser's Salute", but that is literally everything I remembered as I listened to this record twice. There's no replay factor and there is no memorability to majority of the songs. It just sounds rushed and uninspired and they are trying so hard to pass off more and more mediocre records as the time goes on. "Remember Me" barely scraped Mainstream rock chart at no.39, but that's it. Its almost like they are not aware of how irrelevant they are now, so they feel like repacking the same record will work like it used to years ago.
Now, I don't think all their songs and records sound the same, and some of them I even like, but for the most part it is generic structure with little to no variaton which in the end lead to their...well...second worst record. It is a slight step up from the first Dutton record, but is still pretty unthreatening and uninteresing music that doesn't seem to have any future appeal to mainstream audiences.