Hinder - The ReignHinder. Depending on your familiarity with modern rock radio, you’re either asking who the hell they are or why in Jørn’s name we’re reviewing them. For the former, the term “Nickelback-lite”1 is all you need to know. For the latter, it all started when Madam X presented The Reign as “good hard rock,” inciting a discussion about who was familiar with these Oklahoma natives. With a sideways glance and a quivering lower lip, I stepped forward and sheepishly announced to the group:

“I… I have known this band.”

Embarrassing to admit, but back in 2006, Hinder were my first concert ever, a packed show with Eighteen Visions at the now–defunct Sonar in downtown Baltimore. In the previous months, I’d learned of them when their hit single “Lips of an Angel” was broadcast on roughly every FM radio wave in the electromagnetic spectrum, inspiring my high school buddy to peddle their music to our friend group like meth at a Tulsa whorehouse. Nonetheless, I moved on after their 2005 debut Extreme Behavior grew stale, joining the throngs of people shouting “butt-rock!” and purging all traces of post-grunge from my iTunes library. It’s only now with sixth full-length The Reign that Hinder have returned like a dark specter from my past, a specter that will only be satisfied when I give its newest creation a proper review.

And surprisingly, things actually aren’t that bad. The title track kicks things off with a crackling riff and some unexpectedly smoky vocals, initially leading me to believe frontman Austin Winkler had grown wise and dropped his Chad Kroeger impersonation. In actuality, quick research reveals Winkler left the band in 2013 to be replaced by Faktion’s Marshal Dutton, who debuted on 2015’s When the Smoke Clears. Here Dutton gives a performance that’s smoother and more Southern than Winkler’s, recalling He Is Legend’s Schuylar Croom or the clean vocals of Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley. While he’s no Jørn Lande, he’s a decent singer in his own right and adds some nice ‘tude to songs like “King of the Letdown” and the arena rock crunch of “Play to Win.”

Vocals aside, on the surface this is largely the same Hinder I remember from a decade ago. Loud radio-ready choruses, softer verses, cleanly picked bridges, and fat hard rock riffs that probably sound similar to the music at your local strip club. And yet somehow, things are different. In their years together the group has attained an awareness of the genre’s limitations and with it, a resolution to keep things fresh and engaging. Take second track “Burn It Down,” whose first verse is propelled by a dramatic piano line that initially made me think the band had rushed right into a ballad. Instead, after its first minute, the song explodes with a stomping melodic riff and soaring chords that make for a powerful early cut. Even Reign’s biggest pitfall — the occasionally generic choruses in the album’s midsection — is dealt with rather hilariously by abruptly cutting off “Drink You Away” halfway through its second refrain. It’s as if the band knew you could already figure out exactly where the song was going and just decided to move onto something better.2

Hinder 2017

The modern rock production isn’t surprising, but the lyrical themes are. Rather than glamorizing rock n’ roll life, tracks like “Remember Me” deal with the emotional struggle of being a career musician, a message made all the more poignant with Chester Bennington’s recent passing. While there’re still some crude bits (the bluntly suggestive “Making It Hard”), the musicianship remains strong. Guitarists Joe Garvey and Mark King imbue the proceedings with plenty of flashy solos and fun riffs, be it the cruising swagger of “Hard,” the Chevelle-esque verses of “Another Way Out,” or the booming “whoa-oh-oh” refrain of aforementioned “Win.” Perhaps the strongest is closer “Loser’s Salute,” whose lethargic verses and bumbling Puddle of Mudd rhythms soon erupt into the biggest chorus on the album.

Still, don’t let that goat-infused cover fool you: ultimately this is still a band that fits right in with Seether, Three Days Grace, and that guy from college who always wore sleeveless shirts and only drank Busch Light. And yet at the same time, the catchy choruses, inspired musicianship, and energetic songs make The Reign more enjoyable than anything I’ve heard from this style in years. The Madam was right: this is good hard rock.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: The End Records
Websites: hindermusic.com | facebook.com/hinder
Releases Worldwide: August 11th, 2017

Show 2 footnotes

  1. All credit to Grymm for coining this apt description.
  2. I actually thought there was a problem with my promo copy until I verified the track length myself on the label’s website.

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  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Nickelback lite is a Corey Taylor quip.

  • Westpaceagle

    “that guy from college who always wore sleeveless shirts and drank Busch Light”

    That guy is a genius. He was wise to head for the mountains of busch…beer. And for less calories to boot.

    Sadly, Hinder is not genius, and not a 3.0. Not that I will push play , but even if it was decent I would put my hands over my ears and say “lalalala I’m not listening!” Really loud.

    The goats are not pleased and must be appeased soon.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Sacrifices must be made!

  • AgonMcDuck

    I don’t really care for Hinder’s music in general, and I generally dislike this brand of post-grunge, but goddamn do I love “Lips of an Angel.” It’s kind of a guilty pleasure but not really as I don’t believe in feeling guilty about the things I enjoy.

    This 3.0 really has me intrigued, though. Will give it a spin and report back.

    • AgonMcDuck

      Based on embed alone: vocals are too Breaking Benjamin/Three Days Grace for my liking and I don’t like either band. Might have to try the other songs, and the soloing is a neat little surprise, but I don’t know if this is a 3.0 for me yet.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The title “Making it Hard” reminds me of Doug and the Slugs’ “Making it Work”. The chorus for a geriatric version of the former could be: Making it hard / Takes a little longer.

  • The Akerstache

    I only became a teenager in the 2010s, so as such I reached peak angst at the perfect time for the last remnants of the post-grunge era to hit me right in my parent-hating soul. And boy did it hit me, I mouthed out the words to like twelve different Three Days Grace songs in my room with many a karate motion like they actually described me, I walked around with the a “don’t fuck with me attitude” while listening to the softer Five Finger Death Punch songs (growls were scary), and thought Numb was the greatest musical accomplishment ever.

    However, one day I was listening to the local RAWK RADIO!!!! and the debuted this song that blew my fucking mind. Chevelle’s Hunter Eats Hunter. I’d never heard anything so utterly devoid of… butt rock. It wasn’t happy and catchy, it wasn’t sad and appealing to teenagers who hate their parents for getting them the wrong My Chemical Romance tee (thank God I wasn’t born two years earlier, if I’d stumbled across them I would have shouted their name from the heavens as the greatest thing to ever happen), this was creepy. It made me paranoid and afraid, in the same way bands like Deathspell Omega and Dodecahedron do nowadays. I actually felt like it was taking me to a different world, and I hated it, but loved it at the same time. Ever since then I’ve been searching for the same feeling they gave me the first time I listened to them, which led me to Tool, Opeth, and finally, the aforementioned Deathspell Omega.

    Butt rock is an easy target, because it really does suck. It’s the same damn thing a thousand times over, but it’s also where I started. It’s where I began to love heavy riffs, distorted guitars, and the occasional three note solo. And I’ll always be a sucker for a great butt-rock record, because I know I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them back then.

    Definitely checking this out.

    • AgonMcDuck

      I have a soft spot for Chevelle. I still know the lyrics to the songs on Vena Sera even if that’s like the only record of theirs I have, haha.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I listened to the embedded track here and then I listened to that Chevelle song you named.Couldn’t make it through to the end of any one.

      • The Akerstache

        My shitty taste is mine and mine alone.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Agreed… ;) Like they say, to each his own. I love so-called Hair Metal, but that’s what I grew up with before moving on to Heavy and Thrash Metal. I don’t like “alternative” music but I can understand the allure of someone liking stuff similar to what he grew up with.

      • The Akerstache

        But I took a listen to the embedded track, and it was so utterly generic I forgot it in a minute. This is very very poor radio rock.

  • Ivan E. Rection

    Modern college rock is a mixed bag. I’ve seen Chevelle and Seether, both great shows. But I’d rather have my scrote in a vice than see Puddle of Mud or 3D Grace.
    Like I said, college rock is a crushed bag.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Sad what “college rock” has come to mean. When I was a radio DJ college in the early-to-mid-’90s, “college rock” was Polvo, Trumans Water, Rapeman, fIREHOSE, Sonic Youth, Slint, June of ’44, Superchink, Cherubs, Lungfish, Tar, Cows, Drive Like Jehu, Archers of Loaf, Fugazi, etc. Not watered-down Bush/Nickelback-wannabes. Call it “frat-rock” if you want, but don’t besmirch the fertile ground of college radio by lumping this tripe in with indie/underground bands who were its lifeblood.

      • Reality

        Every band u named is garbage.

        • Master of Muppets

          Take that, Dalton! Your taste is wrong and you live a lie!

          • Name’s Dalton

            And here I thought the only thing I wasted in college was tuition.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Man, Reality bites.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I just LOVED this comment.

        • DrChocolate

          Uh, Slint’s not garbage. Spend some time with Spiderland. And Fugazi? C’mon…

      • Bit of a typo there on Superchunk, haha.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Yikes! Corrected!

    • Michael Saurette

      Bro I don’t know how to tell you but those bands aren’t exactly modern anymore

  • JeremyZero

    I mean, ok. Sure. Maybe it doesn’t suck. But why? Why is it here?

    • AgonMcDuck

      Eh, AMG reviews hard rock and other not-really-metal stuff every so often. Also, Hinder are signed to The End so maybe that’s why their stuff gets sent here.

  • Master of Muppets

    I’ve been revisiting the site even more frequently than usual this weekend, constantly hitting refresh to see what’s up next… Never did I expect for this to blemish my screen, nor am I quite sure what I could have done to deserve this. I think Mark Z may now be morally obligated to check up on Kronos and keep him away from sharp objects and shoelaces for a bit.

    • Name’s Dalton

      This is an entirely different kind of brutal.

      • Master of Muppets

        The wrong kind.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Indeed. This demands an inquisition! Or some Inquisition.

          • Mollusc

            Or a Spanish Inquisition? They wouldn’t expect that.

  • This sounds like Bon Jovi to me with a rock-ier guitar solo.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Bon Jovi is cock rock, this is butt rock.

      • DrChocolate

        It’s all the details man. It may only be like 3-4 inches, but it’s another world away.

  • WhamBamSam

    There is one band from this milieu that I would have described as “good hard rock” at one time and would love to refer to as such again, though I don’t have much hope of ever doing so. I really adore the first two Sick Puppies records, so much so that each time they release a shitty new album, I have to go back and listen to the old stuff just to convince myself that my fondness for it isn’t just nostalgia from my angsty teenage years.

    I’ll admit to a certain fondness for the likes of Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin as well, but having them worm their way into a playlist when I’m hanging out with high school friends once a year or so is enough to satisfy my butt rock quotas.

  • Serjien

    I am not sure what surprises me more, Mark Z. reviewing this album or Mark Z. enjoying it!!!

  • AngryROCKguy

    This site just lost the small amount of respect I had for it.angry rock guy will now live in infamy in the same level as metal sucks diahrea “journalism”

    • Master of Muppets

      Eloquently savage insight such as this will surely fell the poseur beast that is AMG.
      Wail and gnash on, Garth. Also, thank you for capitalizing ROCK in your guest-account name, I wouldn’t have seen what you did there otherwise,
      but it’s totally cool homie.

    • Name’s Dalton

      I hope this review doesn’t hinder you from returning to this website in the future.

    • You are far too trve for the likes of vs.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Who do I sue for placing an embedded track of this crap here?

  • Planex

    Listening to this music has hindered my enjoyment of it.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I am gonna go ahead and be a bonehead…
    Talking about the emotional struggle of being a career musician rather than glamorizing rock n’ roll life is for pussies. If you can’t deal with the emotional struggle of being a career musician you can always quit the band and go find a job laying carpet.

    • Michael Saurette

      Why? It’s a tough life and a valid human emotion to have.

    • What if they write a song about the emotional toll that carpet laying takes on a person?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Now, that would be credible! That’s what Mark Knopfler did with “Money For Nothing”…

        • Well, someone’s gotta move these microwave ovens…

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            We got to move these refrigerators we gotta move these color TV’s!
            The point being that a rockstar can leave the music business and become a carpet layer, but it is REALLY hard to become a rockstar. It’s like hearing a millionaire complain about the problems caused by having so much money.

  • Kill The King

    Dear gods….a Hinder review on AMG!! Sadly I’ve known of this band for over 10 years thanks to my sister (I swear).

  • Christopher

    By 2006, I was getting the shit kicked out of me at Cannibal Corpse shows, haha.

  • Nukenado

    Hinder
    3.0 on AMG

    Wait… What? This is AMG, right? Umm…
    SOMEBODY PASS ME DODECAHEDRON

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    I clicked on this review thinking maybe there was another band besides this one also named Hinder. I was wrong. There are not two bands named Hinder. Just one bad one. I’m upset now. I’m going to go click on the other reviews on this site to make me feel better.

  • Ondřej Hanus

    … and Tchornobog got 1.5. Can’t wrap my head around it.

  • Lavatron

    What saddens me most is that this is released by The End Records. They released such awesome records “back then”…

  • wayne the devil

    Hey, I can give AMG a break for throwing this out there…at least it aint Rings of Saturn………

    • Cancel the Rings of Saturn review!!

      • wayne the devil

        Following the Hinder review-Yer Metal Is Olde, featuring April Wines Nature of the Beast….LOL!!!

        • What a killer metal album!

          • wayne the devil

            At least the beastie on the cover was covered up. Did ya hear that, Bonehunter?

      • welyyt

        That’s getting reviewed here?

  • mtlman1990

    Trash

  • Nola Trash Talk

    It’s amazing to get older and see younger people reminisce about shit you knew was garbage. The recent Linkin Park fiasco is a great example. I was 15 laughing at that awful shit in 2001 while cranking Priest and Dio. And yet here we are…now they’re heroes of a bygone era. That’s journalism for ya.

  • Nate Sweet

    So…I feel a bit embarrassed to bring it up but… anyone else hear Skillet in the embedded track.
    HEY! I WAS A TEEN ONCE!!!

    I’ve literally described Hinder as a slightly better Nickelback to people. If I ever have the misfortune of recommending Hinder to anyone again I will surely use Nickelback-Lite(TM)

  • Lithophyte

    Like the chugs. Hate the vocals – hate the song. Feel sorry for all those who have Butt Rock engrams etched into their brains. Such a curse.

  • TheCurlyMetalhead

    Yuck

  • sir_c

    The members of Hinder
    Met one another at Tinder
    They cannot really make music
    But they surely make me sick

  • PretentiousFuckwad

    Just for the comments alone this should be the record o the month for August.

  • Adam

    My go-to modern hard rock band is Alter Bridge.. mind you they definitely peaked 2 or 3 albums ago.