Growing up in the noughties, Nickelback were the first rock band I ever listened to. The nostalgic “How You Remind Me” and “Rockstar” became massive, unforgettable hits which dominated the charts in the early 2000’s. Inevitably, however since their peaked success in 2005, they have slowly fallen off the scale. Losing that rocky, sing-a-long flare which were the essence of their songs during the early years, the quartet have a lot of work to do before they can attain even a slither of the success they achieved previously.
Currently consisting of lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, drummer Daniel Adair, bassist Mike Kroeger and backing vocalist Ryan Peake, the band have upped their well known grunge tunes to hard rock and metal and brought it to Feed the Machine which will be the bands ninth album. Kroeger’s distinctive gruff vocals are nothing but perfection on what seems to be for the majority of the tracks, a rejuvenated sound.
It seems Nickelback are going all out in order to prove they have lost those generic riffs which seemed to be their downfall. The title track “Feed the Machine” offers a hard rock, post-grunge sound and in a sense shows how the band have matured lyrically. Replacing drugs with themes of dangerous, powerful governments living in a dystopian world, this song contains an element of fear, that, mixed with powerful drum and bass jars makes for an expressive yet extremely busy track. Although the instrumental bridge offers a break in which to rock out, the song quickly becomes overpowered by its very intense riffs and is possibly a sign that the four piece are trying too hard to make an impact with a new, heftier sound.
“Song on Fire” is a breath of fresh air and a frankly welcomed pause from the heaviness heard in the opening tracks. A sense of unknowing and desperateness is the forefront of this poignant ballad and it definitely tugs on those heartstrings, “Play it for the world but it won’t mean much unless I sing this song to you.” The more emotional side to the album comes out in Kroeger’s strangely soothing tones, his gripping vocals take listeners on an up and down journey, from the sad, sombre versus to the soaring chorus’. This song is the closest the album gets to the old, lovable Nickelback.
Continuing the heavy metal, head banging vibe “Must Be Nice” is another one of the many dramatically intense tracks appearing on Feed the Machine. Ridiculing the rich who were given everything they could ever want, the harsh guitar strums and almost screaming vocals express Kroeger’s anger on the subject. Nevertheless, not being able to make it half way without switching to the next track, the song soon becomes overwhelming and creates more of a headache than a head banging feel.
It’s difficult to predict this album becoming a triumph, however that’s not to say the record will chart poorly but the hard rock, more intense metal sound will certainly not be to everyone’s taste. “Song on Fire” being the most captivating snippet of the upcoming album, it could be heartbreakingly possible, Nickleback may never write treasured hits like those in the noughties again.