So they’re back, that much maligned band from Canada. Disliked by metal fans for being too soft and disliked by pop fans for being too heavy, it seems that they can do no right. Well record sales speak for themselves and Nickelback are still the pride and joy of the record label roster.
During the Hiatus between ‘The Long Road’-an apt title if ever there was one-and ‘All the Right Reasons’ drummer Ryan Vikadel was sacked and replaced by ex-Suspect, Martone and 3 Doors Down tub thumper and long time friend Daniel Adair. Controversy hung in the air, Vikadel felt hard done by, having been with the band since the debut album in 1996, but the band felt vindicated perhaps due to Vidakels disinterest in the way things were panning out. Consequently Adair occupies the drum-stool throughout, although you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference.
Nickelback have developed a successful formula over the years, one that has been criticised for producing formulaic written for radio ballads. But hey! Listen up…..that’s what sells records, keeps the record label happy and allows the band to continue doing their thing. With that in mind ‘All the Right Reasons’ includes four ballads, none of which echo previous glories. ‘Photograph’, ‘Savin Me’-garnished with keyboards- and the slushy acoustic ‘Far Away’ have more hooks than a high school cloakroom whilst ‘If Everyone Cared’ is a natural successor to the Kroeger penned ‘Hero’. The rest of the album, save the humorous novelty song ‘Rock Star’, ploughs the aggressive furrow combining elements from the bands previous two albums. ‘Animals’ and ‘Next Contestant’ wouldn’t be out of place on ‘The Long Road’ whilst the low key and grunge inspired riffs of ‘Fight for all the Wrong Reasons’ feels like carry over from 2001’s ‘Silver Side Up’. ‘Side of a Bullet’-Nickelback’s tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell- features the best riff that Metallica never wrote and the buzzing slam of ‘Follow You Home’ shows that leopards don’t change their spots they just add some subtle new ones. In all this isn’t a great departure from the Nickelback of old, no progression other than in the ballad department and no great shocks. Nickelback do what they do best, producing music for the fans. In that respect this record has been made for all the right reasons. From a music point of view this is Nickelback’s strongest album to date.