Review Summary: Pretty solid hard rocking tunes, and a couple decent ballads all equay to one of the best NB records in over a decade.
Nickelback have been a punching bag of rock for almost two decades now. Their bad habit of turning out similar records over and over lead to them falling off the mainstream music map in the turn of the following decade. While 2011 "Here and Now" still went platinum in both Canada and US, the record's most popular single barely cracked the top 50.
It didn't get better with their next project "No Fixed Address", as they tried out more pop-oriented sound, but ultimately failed to achieve any mainstream success or replay factor.
3 years have passed again, and after Chad Kroeger's vocal chords surgery, the band announced that their 9th studio album, " Feed the Machine" is going to be released in June of 2017.
There was no much anticipation for this CD, as many people completely wrote off Nickelback as legit good song-writers, but when the lead off single, being the title track, was released, it completely blew me away. Not only did "Feed the Machine" the song does not strictly follow the formula, it has pretty heavy and tight riffs, good vocal performance from Kroeger and surprisingly well written lyrics. It was certianly a shock that the same band could pull off both songs like this as well as "Photograph".
This is not the only song that falls into that category. "Silent Majority" as well talks about people standing up against 'the Machine', and it really showcases that Nickelack is capable of writing something that's not love-oriented and cringe-worthy. "Coin For The Ferryman" and "For the River" redeem themselves with strong riffs, decent rhythm sections and, especially the former, brings out probably the most interesting lyrics in a Nickelback song in a long time. "The Betrayal (Act III) starts off with pretty chilling acoustic riffage, and it explodes with the bassline as it turns into this angry straight up heavy metal track. All this is backed up by Chad's more cleaned up vocals and less cocky attitude, and it also helps that these heavier tracks really manage to avoid the formula for the most part, it actually sounds like the real effort and emotion went into these tracks, and it produces probably the best set of songs probably since "The Long Road", or maybe even "The State" days. Tho record would probably be better without cringe-inducing "Must Be Nice" that could have been written by a kindergarten kid when he takes an attempt on songwritting It's catchy, but the lyrics paint so many different pictures (just for the sake of rhyming) and in the you eventually end up listening to a hallow filler track.
That being said tho, the ballads still for the most part fall under the umbrella of standard rock radio. The lyrics are still romanticized and cheesy in places, like on "Song on Fire", which is a decent tune, but it is the most basic progression that does not make it stand out at all. "After the Rain" and "Home" are both standard Nickelback affairs, and "Every Time We're Together" is easily the blandest song the band has released in a long time (and that's saying a lot!).
However, the hooks are there, production is well executed for the most part, there's no 00's radio rock mysogyny, and maybe that's the sign of Nickelback growing up. After all, they're barely relevant in the mainstream, and the four-chord affairs are probably not doing them any favors anymore. Pretty solid hard rocking tunes, and a couple decent ballads all equay to one of the best NB records in over a decade.