Hinder’s back, stronger than ever!
Oklahoma-based Hinder’s fifth studio album When the Smoke Clears is a good solid hard rock record; heavy, melodious, veering at times into sheer softness. The band had to recover from two of its members parting ways, lead vocalists no less, since its inception in the early 2000s, and they’ve managed to make quite the seamless transition. When the Smoke Clears has power and strength, coherence and doubtless efficiency, showing Hinder always land on its feet despite the many hurdles thrown their way. They’re unstoppable in their continuity, bent, it seems, on maintaining their sound and core identity through shifts in line-up. While some would view this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves or rethink the musical process, Hinder is au contraire eager to uphold the illusion that nothing has changed. Band members may come and go, they will prosper, and the formula will be mixed regardless.
When the Smoke Clears is post-grunge at its most efficient, killer riffs, dancing vocals, heavy guitars and percussive drums. Their lyrics are to the point and acerbic for Hinder is no band to hit around the bush. This fifth opus is a message of resilience and hardiness. Picks, mics, and drumsticks will never be dropped. This fresh release possesses a definite commercial mainstream sound, is less punchy and forceful than Hinder’s previous work, but this can certainly be imputed to setbacks at the organizational level. A vocalist is difficult to replace, but Hinder has a gift for making it work, patching up at will, creating osmosis when the magic is scarcely perceptible. They’re warriors and their sound is a testament to their stubbornness and diligence.
Hinder is not at the avant-garde of rock music, that much is certain. They’re known, and have been blessed with great success, because of their radio-friendly, potent and efficacious sound. On first listen, When the Smoke Clears, does not inspire awe, in fact does little other than illicit mild enjoyment. The record does attest to Hinder’s musicianship and oomph but fails to reveal any positive growth, making these Oklahoma rockers hardly distinguishable from those currently populating mainstream rock radios.
While When the Smoke Clears may not be this year’s greatest rock record, it serves one essential purpose: it positions Hinder amongst musicians to be reckoned with. They’ve seen two of their main members leave their ranks and have elected to keep on in spite of the incertitude that such a severe fracture entails; bands have split up for lesser motives.
Hinder is still working on revivifying their sound in order to make it as strong and implacable as it once was. They have quite a ways to go, but knowing their spirit, they will no doubt keep on astounding us, and this is ultimately why we love Hinder so very much.