Hinder band photo

HINDER – Welcome To The Freakshow

Hinder - Welcome to the FreakshowBack in 2010, Hinder released one of the, if not the, best album of that year, All American Nightmare. Its predecessor, Take It To The Limit from 2008 was also one of that year’s best releases. Not bad for a band who made a debut album, Extreme Behaviour, that I couldn’t stand. When I first heard of Hinder, they stood for everything I hated in music. They were ingratiating, pointless, weak and every aspect of them, both musically and visually, seemed to be carefully calculated to fit in to what was popular. Musically, they tried so hard to fit into American mainstream rock radio, but off stage they really wanted to be the new Mötley Crüe. While the latter still might be accurate, they pretty quickly changed their sound and with their two follow ups they concentrated at being a good time hard rock ‘n’ roll band with brilliant hooks, attitude and groove and they quickly went from being something I couldn’t stand to one of my favourite new hard rock bands.

That’s why I was really looking forward to getting my hands on their new record, hoping they would follow the path they took on the more heavy All American Nightmare. Their first single and opening track “Save Me” was released a month before the album and even though I really liked the track, it left me a bit concerned. It sure rocks, it’s really catchy and it really sounds like a Hinder tune, but something still didn’t feel right. First of all, they rap in it. Not much, but enough for it to be a warning sign. Second, the melody resembles so much of what you hear on commercial rock radio today, which is the wrong way for this band to hit. When I finally got my hands on the album, the warning signs kept coming. Second song “Ladies Come First” is really good and heavy, but in a safe way, but it contains scratching. Hello? Rap metal and scratching? Didn’t that belong to all the crappy nu metal bands of the early 2000? Doesn’t really feel current in 2012 when that kind of music is, hopefully, dead and buried forever.

Ballads have always been a major thing with Hinder and there is nothing wrong with that, they are usually very good at writing them. But on this album there are a shitload of them. In fact, half of this album’s set list are ballads, which is way too many. “Should Have Known Better” is one of them and one of the few good ones on here. It would probably result in a big hit for the band, which I guess is the whole purpose with them. “Freakshow”, however, is a real killer, heavy, angry, yet catchy, just the way Hinder should sound. To name drop every ballad here would take too much space, let’s just say that a song like “Talk To Me” will be the song that speaks for the rest of them and boy, is this cheesy. C’mon guys, enough already! “See You In Hell” is a real classic Hinder rocker and “Wanna Be Rich” is the same, great stuff except for the stupid disco break in the middle of the song.

To sum it up, this album is a major disappointment and a complete sell out. It sounds like every other radio friendly hard rock / metal band that is out there today and with this album Hinder has lost a lot of their identity. Even though Hinder has been a big selling act since their debut and they are headlining big venues in their native US, it looks like they are desperate for a big hit single. They haven’t a real major smash since their debut single “Lips Of An Angel” and I guess that’s why they have made album with their heads instead of their hearts. It’s really sad that they have taken a step back instead of moving forward like they did with their last two albums. That said, I don’t think this is a shitty album, it’s a decent one, actually and they sure kick butt with the rest of the ordinary radio rock bands out there, but they can do better. Much better. Back to the drawing board, guys and do it again. Better.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Track list:

1. Save Me
2. Ladies Come First
3. Shoulda Known Better
4. Freakshow
5. Talk To Me
6. Get Me Away From You
7. Is It Just Me
8. I Don’t Wanna Believe
9. See You In Hell
10. Anyone But You
11. Wanna Be Rich

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