"Feed The Machine" By Nickelback
Post-Grunge/Released June 16, 2017
Ahh Nickelback. The rock and metal world's favorite whipping boys. The Canadian titans of radio rock are probably rivaled in hatred only by the DMV and whatever political party is opposite yours. Despite the constant bashing thrown their way the band has been an unstoppable juggernaut of commercial success. Even earning the title of best selling rock band of the 2000's right behind The Beatles. Though the more success a band has the more people seem to hate them and Nickelback has seen more than their fair share of vitriol.
Despite the endless critics the band has upon every release, ears perked up around the rock world when the band released the single "Feed The Machine" in February 2017 from their upcoming album of the same name. It was a heavier track for the band with some politically conscious lyrical depth and metal centered guitar riffs that exuded an overall quality above what the band was known for. Many listeners were cautiously hopeful for Nickelback's new album to change their minds about the band with the strong lead single. Now that the album is here did the lead single bring promise of a quality album? Or a fake out flash in the pan?
Despite Nickelback's reputation for cheesy radio ballads the band is no stranger to distorted guitar, hard rock songs. Feed The Machine begins with a one-two punch of them with the title track and "Coin For The Ferryman". The latter of which sounds more in Nickelback's wheelhouse with the southern tinged flavor in its riffs and Chad Kroeger's easily recognized vocal delivery. The strong album start had my hopes up until the start of "Song On Fire". A by-the-numbers radio ballad with its high production, cheesy love lyrics, and acoustic guitars blended with the electric for the chorus. Essentially Nickelback sounding how you expect Nickelback to sound. This pattern is essentially the name of the game for the rest of the album. When the band wants to turn up the heat the songs are fairly solid. Tracks like "Must Be Nice", "For The River", and "The Betrayl-Act III", while not awe inducing, are entertaining rockers that long time fans will love. However, Nickelback seems nearly incapable of writing a softer song without smothering it in cringe inducing, radio cheese. "Silent Majority" seems to be the only song in this vein that can be stomached but it doesn't hold up to softer songs on previous releases by the band that were more enjoyable like "Rockstar" and "If Today Was Your Last Day". Closing track "The Betrayl-Act I" is a solid instrumental track however that ends the album on a positive note with folksy guitar work and tasteful strings. I do have to ask why there is no "The Betrayl-Act II" though. If you're going to have multiple parts, or in this case "acts", on an album at least have them all be present and in order. Just a personal peeve on that one.
Despite Chad Kroeger's teasing of a heavier album from the band, Feed The Machine seems par for the course for Nickelback. I've never full heartedly jumped on the Nickelback hate train but I've rarely found tracks from them worthy of adding to my playlist. Let alone a full album. With that said Feed The Machine is neither a joyous leap forward in quality nor is it a highly polished turd. It's an okay album from a band that has their formula and dares not stray from it. While it may not bring many new fans to the Nickelback camp the band's well established fan base will find plenty to love about this album. Especially if I can listen to it without wanting to punch my stereo. I do encourage critics of the group to give the album a chance. While the ballads will have you reaching for the skip button the more uptempo tracks have a good chance of being guilty pleasure listens to add to your collection.