Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
Modern Hard Rockers Nickelback return to the fray on 18th November with their tenth studio offering, Get Rollin’, their first release since 2017’s Feed The Machine.
Nickelback are an interesting band as some sections of the Rock community seem to love them and others seem to be of a rather more opposing view.
Of all the bands in the post-Grunge Rock scene, they seem to have been the one that garners the most polarised of opinions and I’ve never really understood why, as they have released some absolutely cracking stuff over the years. They have been accused of being overly formulaic and of having dubious lyrical content, but frankly those are criticisms that could be levelled at a whole bunch of bands in and out of the various Rock genres into which the band have been lumped by the media and Rock fans in general.
So, what does all this mean for album number 10?
Well, for one thing, it’s clear that in 2022, Nickelback mean business! ‘San Quentin’ opens Get Rollin’ with one helluva sucker-punch to the solar plexus. The guitar riff scythes in like a jackhammer and Chad Kroeger’s vocal is a mightily impassioned roar that takes absolutely no prisoners on a hooky, heavy-duty monster of a track that simply screams “we’re back!”
The heavy-duty riffing continues on ‘Skinny Little Missy’ which isn’t quite as lyrically dodgy as the title suggests and what we have here is another monstrous downtuned modern rocker with mighty hooklines and even a shredding guitar solo. The band clearly understand how to put together a huge modern Hard Rock anthem and this track absolutely is just that!
Despite their love of the Hard Rock roar, Nickelback have always had a soft spot for a good pop song and this is exactly what we get with track three ‘Those Days’ which is every bit as catchy as past hits such as ‘Photograph’, being chock full of cheerful major key melodies and acoustic guitars with one of those colossally impassioned singalong choruses that they do so very well.
‘High Time’ follows and throws a proper curve-ball into the mix! Coming on like a more Rock version of the sound popularised by Country superstars Brothers Osborne. It’s another absolute gem of a pop hook with subtle Country inflections in the lead guitars and, somewhat surprisingly, fits Nickelback incredibly well. Chad Kroeger in particular sounds right at home on this track. Well done lads – nice to hear something a bit different but that still sounds ‘you’.
The colossal heavy riffing returns on ‘Vegas Bomb.’ Typical Nickelback and typical modern Hard Rock, sitting where it does in the running order it works well enough, but it lacks that absolutely killer hook to make it stand out amongst the rest of album.
‘Tidal Wave’ follows and drops the intensity with some lovely clean guitar arpeggios and impassioned melody on another excellent piece of Pop-Rock. Less obvious (and arguably less formulaic) than ‘Those Days’, and despite being way less heavy than the Hard Rockers on the album, ‘Tidal Wave’ nonetheless manages to become a bit of a standout track with repeated plays, the hookline worming its way in and refusing to let go and the lighter sound and vibe really suiting the band.
The acoustic guitar returns for ‘Does Heaven Even Know’ which, rather like ‘Those Days’ has that classic Nickelback acoustic Pop-Rock vibe nailed perfectly. It really does remind me of ‘Photograph’ and ‘Far Away’ from the classic All The Right Reasons album but without simply being a carbon copy. Delicate keyboard hooks add weight to the insane catchiness of this track which is another personal favourite from the album.
‘Steel Still Rusts’ continues the acoustic vibe on a slower-paced grooving ballad that really represents the classic Nickelback sound very well, containing a ton of vocal hooks and just enough big guitar sounds to elevate it out of the Soft-Rock mire.
I must admit that, on first listen, I was expecting another big full-on riff track after all the Pop-influenced acoustic-ness and balladry, but not so! ‘Horizon’ kicks in with very delicate guitars, slightly ambient keyboards and vocal effects before the big chords kick in on another absolutely stunning hook-laden piece of Pop-Rock that repeated plays have elevated to probably this reviewer’s favourite track on the album. Unexpected and very, very good!
‘Standing In The Dark’ ups the ante a little in the guitar sound department, but foregoes the massive riffing of the opening tracks in favour of catchy melody and chugging chords and is yet another massive Pop-Rock anthem with another huge chorus. Chad Kroeger sounds so comfortable on these sorts of songs and his vocal on this is perfect – just the right mix of rasp and melody. Another standout track that’s as good as anything similar from the band’s back catalogue.
The album ends with ‘Just One More’ which continues the Pop-Rock themes that have emerged as the defining sounds within this album. The problem this track has is that it has follows ‘Horizon’ and ‘Standing In The Dark’ and can’t really hold a candle to either of them. It’s not a bad track by any means but isn’t perhaps the most ideal way to end the album.
On first listen, I kinda expected Get Rollin’ to have more heavy tracks on it and they’ve certainly top-loaded those sounds into the early part of the album. Good as those riff-heavy monsters are (especially opener ‘San Quentin’), it’s in the more Pop-Rock tracks where I feel that this album truly excels and it’s that style and those tracks that I’ll probably come back to more than any others on subsequent post-review listens.
If you’re a fan of Nickelback’s previous albums, and if you’ve missed them over the past five years, then there’s a ton of stuff on Get Rollin’ to get you very excited. If, however, you’re one of the detractors, then I suspect there’s little here to change your mind. Basically what we have here is business as usual from a band who, love ‘em or hate ‘em, are quite rightly a pivotal act in the world of modern Hard Rock. As for me, I really like this album and happily recommend it to all fans of modern Hard Rock with Pop sensibilities. Welcome back lads – a job very well done!
Get Rollin’ Tracklist:
- San Quentin
- Skinny Little Missy
- Those Days
- High Time
- Vegas Bomb
- Tidal Wave
- Does Heaven Even Know You’re Missing?
- Steel Still Rusts
- Standing In The Dark
- Just One More
- High Time (Acoustic) *
- Does Heaven Even Know You’re Missing? (Acoustic) *
- Just One More (Acoustic) *
- Horizon (Acoustic) *
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