Sound — 5
American hard rockers Buckcherry have made a living reimagining the younger days of old men like Guns N' Roses, AC/DC and Aerosmith (with all their bravado) but they're starting to get on themselves. They formed almost two decades ago and have a collective age of 214 but there's no shortage of zest or energy on "Confessions". What we do have, though, is the feel of a band who are content to move along at their own pace and ply their craft without ruffling too many feathers.
The GnR comparison remains the most pertinent, with familiar highs and lows of the rock n' roll lifestyle blared out relentlessly by frontman Josh Todd to the hard rock backing that clearly owes so much to the 80s with its sleazy riffs, overblown guitar solos and versatility of tempo. Todd and his overdubs take centre-stage on the biggest rock numbers "Gluttony" and "Seven Ways To Die", bolstering the heave with an octave or some other harmony, but swooning ballad "Sloth" and faux-country ditty "Dreamin' Of You" see him going it alone. So dominant is he within the band that, besides the competent solos and other occasional interjections, the quality of his vocal more or less decides the quality of the song. And as you may have guessed, he comes off best on the faster, heavier tracks.
Lyrics — 5
The muddled themes of the album are best told in numbers; there are seven songs named after the deadly sins, one brings them all together, two more are called "Air" and "Water" and then there's another three which seem completely unrelated to anything. It smells faintly of the botched concept album which required a name change and a bit of filler to make it onto shelves. A deeply personal feel is present throughout however, and Todd sings of his troubles very honestly, if not in a particularly original manner. Ignoring envy, greed and the rest his greatest sin is probably naming these sins in his lyrics (22 times in "Lust"!) as if it wasn't clear enough already. It's all rather tacky and patronising to the listener but if tales from the LA underworld are your bag then this will be comfortable territory.
Just as an aside, the line "Hey man, do you wanna get a fist so hard? Do you wanna see who's in charge? I'm gonna show you your future" somehow found its way onto "Wrath" when it sounds like it was meant for "Lust". Not sure what happened there.
Overall Impression — 5
This is all pretty lowest-common-denominator stuff but the thoughtful "Pride" and infectious "Gluttony" are, at least, enough to keep Buckcherry on the road for another few years. You wonder whether that's all these seasoned rockers really need to keep themselves happy, reputable in the live arena and reliable for making tunes that hit all the right buttons for dedicated fans. Don't expect "Confessions" to make you one if you aren't already.