Sound — 6
Hinder is continuing to keep excess and the rock and roll lifestyle alive and kicking with its latest material. While there are plenty who might perceive singing about the usual booze/love/sex themes as a cop out in 2010, Hinder certainly doesn't share that viewpoint. Much like the Oklahoma band's first two albums, the latest release All American Nightmare plays upon all of your traditional rock subjects whether it be in the lyrical content or the overall straightforward musical format. There's nothing you haven't heard before style-wise on All American Nightmare, so don't expect to be wowed by any groundbreaking songwriting.
That being said, Hinder's already-established fans know that experimental compositions aren't what lured them to the band in the first place. All American Nightmare borders on being generic, but it also is likeable enough thanks to vocalist Austin Winkler's charismatic delivery and the all-important big choruses. And yes, there are plenty who will eat up those themes that rule the rock world (i.e., booze and sex). There's a decent balance between energetic, grooving compositions and contemplative ballads, but the memorable, sing-along chorus is usually the common denominator.
If you can get over the blatant nature prevalent in much of the material, then a song like Two Sides of Me (a gritty rocker that provides a good dose of sleaze) and Waking Up The Devil (which features an almost circus-like lead guitar riff) are fairly satisfying in terms of being likeable, raunchy fare. The title track is actually somewhat of a disappointment in comparison with the aforementioned songs, if only because it doesn't really offer too many original musical ideas except for some solid acoustic work.
The slower material conveys for better or worse a Kid Rock-ish attitude. The country genre ever so slightly creeps into verses fit for the everyman. Whatcha Gonna Do is the primary example, and you could easily hear Kid Rock grabbing his acoustic to tackle this type of track. Hinder will undoubtedly connect with a massive audience because of this down-to-earth approach, but again, it's nothing we haven't heard before.
Lyrics — 7
You're either going to love or hate Hinder's lyrics. You could blame the rise of grunge for making songs about excess/booze/sex unpopular, but regardless of the reason it does seem a bit trite to hear bands regurgitate sounds about the topics. Hinder will strike chords with rock enthusiasts with lines like You told me you hated my GN'R shirt; I should have known then this was never going to work (Hey Ho) or the clever Put The Record On, which assimilates various classic rock album titles (everything from Crazy Train to Back In Black) into the lyrics. In terms of extolling the virtues/sins of rock past and present, the members of Hinder are masters at it.
Overall Impression — 7
Hinder does play it safe by sticking with the general rock and roll basics on All American Nightmare, but this time there is a bit more of a down-home feel to the ballads. It's not going to ruffle any feathers with the fans they have already, but the latest album also won't win over any of the band's naysayers. While it's always enjoyable to hear a catchy chorus, there's just a bit too much predictability all around on All American Nightmare.