Sound — 9
Nickelback is undoubtedly one of few modern bands who cover so many styles in one outing. Their main style, which is their own very distinct take on metal, is let loose from the word go. The track in question is the mega-catchy 'Something in Your Mouth', which breaks the album exceptionally well, showing Nickelback's trademark portrayal of heavy rock/metal, mixed with aspects of country etc. They keep the feel going through to the next track, a riff-driven song called 'Burn It to the Ground'. A good track, though not Nickelback at their best - the solo isn't brilliant and doesn't compliment them as a band too well. 'Gotta Be Somebody' sees Nickelback flip styles and play the first mainstream rock 'anthem' on the album -. It's a beautiful song which allows the band to show their softer side. It keeps the guitars and bass down, allowing the vocals to take near-total charge of the song. That feel is then continued in 'I'd Come for You', which is a similar song in the way it has been written/recorded. The hard rock comes back again for the next few tracks. 'Next Go Round', like the first couple of tracks, is driven by heavy guitars/bass and pounding drums. It also contains a pretty good solo that is sadly spoilt by effects. Some may not think so, but I do. Then comes more classic Nickelback in the form of 'Just to Get High' which opens with a nice reverb-enhanced guitar line, going heavier in the choruses/solo. Nice, clever song which should be a fan favourite. 'Never Gonna Be Alone' then comes and turns the amps down from 11, and out come the acoustic guitars - definitely one of the best, most relaxed tracks on the album. The next two tracks, 'Shakin' Heads' and 'S.E.X.', bring the heavy rock back for another encore, both letting Nickelback do what they do best. The first shows more country influence in the guitars again. The second is another maxed-out distortion track. Both are pretty good. 'If Today Was Your Last Day' shows remnants of their work with Carlos Santana in the style that it is played, being a relaxed, almost Spanish sounding song. The finale of the album comes with 'This Afternoon', which is a very different song for Nickelback. Ending on a high note, the song remains very up-beat and feels pretty positive all the way through, and leaves the listener wanting more.
Lyrics — 9
When I think of any band that plays any form of metal, I usually expect the lyrics to be fairly un-imaginative, but the lyrics throughout this album are both clever and meaningful. The pun on the letters of the word 'Sex' in the song of the same name is clever - S is for the simple need, E is for the ecstasy, X is just to mark the spot 'cause that's the one you really want - sex is always the answer, it's never a question 'cause the answer's yes, the answer's yes. - Clever and catchy. That wit and ability to hook the listener is laden throughout the album. Songs like 'Just to Get High' flip it and change the wit to make you think about the lyrics more than the music itself. The vocals, mainly handled by Chad, are as well performed as ever, especially his take on the melodies etc. The harmonies on most of the tracks are great too, citing the bands ability to handle backing vocals as well as anyone else - something that was slightly lacking in various earlier Nickelback outings. Lyrics/vocals are great, overall.
Overall Impression — 9
The album in a sentence; something that will satisfy both the mainstream market and the fans. The wide musical range covered should satisfy most people without question, so don't pass it up just because you don't like whatever they release as singles or whatever. It's a good album, and that's coming from someone who doesn't normally listen to Nickelback a lot. Dark Horse is far from good-for-nothing, as the term suggests. Give it a listen, it's worth it.