Feed The Machine

Written by: PP on 18/12/2017 22:24:35

It's always a challenge reviewing a Nickelback album, because you have to shove aside your prejudice and give it a chance, because, you know, objectivity and stuff. I'm just glad the band makes it so easy to defend having a negative outlook from the onset. Their ninth album "Feed The Machine" is unironically titled after exactly what it is: a formulaic, predictable career-extension whose sole purpose is to grind out a couple of mainstream radio rock hits in order to churn out a pile of dollars for the band to justify yet another arena tour of the US and the world.

Most of the edges have been ironed out so as to not scare any potential masses away, which in itself is fine because the approach has resulted in some undeniably huge rock songs in the past. "How You Remind Me", "Someday", "Photograph", "Rockstar"... say what you want about Nickelback but I betcha these are songs where you'll join in for a 1 am sing along in a drunken stupor at your favorite rock bar should they come on. The problem is, however, that "Feed The Machine" and the past few Nickelback albums just haven't had even that quality in them. Instead, the songs are largely dime-a-dozen post-grunge for the masses where it seems that Chad Kroeger is deliberately trying to come up with lines more atrocious than before from album to album. Consider this gem from "Must Be Nice", for instance: "Humpty Dumpty, do your thing. Daddy gonna buy you a diamond ring". A horrendous attempt at being playful while a simplistic funk rhythm drives the song forward.

That said, there are a couple of halfway decent tracks on the record. "After The Rain" is a massive rock ballad that feels stadium-sized. It might be formulaic and predictable, but it's fairly catchy, so it's easy to see why the radio stations would pick this one up and why casual music fans would find it good. The same goes for "Home", another semi-acoustic ballad. It's a huge song that can easily be imagined on Royal Arena entertaining the masses.

In contrast, "Silent Majority" is a more distorted affair, and has some echoes of the band's earlier years, which is a recurring theme throughout the album. It's as if the band wanted to shift away slightly from their recent pop-rock past into something else. Consider "The Betrayal (Act III)", which could be mistaken for a metal song where Kroeger almost stretches his voice into a scream during its crunchy chorus, or indeed the title track which is far groovier and more distorted than we're accustomed to hearing in the past decade or so from the band.

In all fairness, "Feed The Machine" isn't as bad as you might expect. In fact, it's probably the best Nickelback album since 2003's "The Long Road". Its problem is still the same as usual, though. Too few real bangers and too predictable overall to appeal to anyone but superficial music fans.

Download: Coin For The Ferryman, Home, Silent Majority
For the fans of: 3 Doors Down, Hinder, Breaking Benjamin
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.06.2017

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