Hinder has gone through a lot these last few years. Losing your lead singer/front man is never easy and can be the scariest process. The band went through a few guest singers before settling on their official new lead singer Marshall Dutton. Nolan Neal was thought to be the new lead man, however, the band never officially announced that. and he was featured on the first cut of the bands newest lead single “Hit The Ground” before it was officially released to radio featuring different vocals from now lead singer, Marshall. I believe with the change, the band has really breathed new life into their career. I think the last album suffered a bit in terms of originality but this change has worked out so well for the band that “When The Smoke Clears” is easily up there with Extreme Behavior” and “Take It To The Limit” as one of their best albums to date. Though Austin had such charisma and great vocals, Marshall has the exact same qualities. From the opening lyrics of “Rather Hate Than Hurt” to the ending ring of “I Need Another Drink”, Marshall proves he has what it takes to front a major rock band such as Hinder.
As stated before, the opening track is spectacular and really helps to set the tone for the rest of the album. Starting off with what sounds like a piano ballad quickly turns into a soaring rocker, which I believe to be one of the bands best tracks in quite some time. Next is lead single “Hit The Ground” which pulls from the experiences of the band going through their lineup change and losing all hope before rising back up through the fire! “Wasted Life” is the blue collar working man’s song, most of us will be able to find some common ground with the lyrics here. Marshall’s delivery on these first few tracks is great and I love the way he attacks the lyrics with such confidence. Next is the ballad “If Only For Tonight” and usually I love Hinder’s ballads, but this one just falls a little short somewhere. Not that it is a bad song, but it is just not on the same level of their previous ballads. However, that is a very small hiccup in an otherwise fantastic album.
Next is hard rocker “Intoxicated” which is not exactly what you might think it is about. This is about being a drug to someone, being their buzz and their high, really cool lyric dynamic here with the killer riffs we have always loved from our Oklahoma boys! “Dead To Me” keeps the heavy trend going with, yet again, a KILLER riff and bad ass vocal delivery from Marshall, this guy just continues to impress as the album presses on! The lyrics to this one speaks of heartbreak and will be a go to break up song for many, more of an angry break up song that will really hit home with most fans. “Nothing Left To Lose” is a bit of a ballad and a bit of a heavy tune. This is exactly what I like in Hinder ballads, huge guitars and soaring vocals that continue the trend from the tracks set before it. The acoustic intro really sets this one up for a killer live tune and I’m hoping to hear this one on the radio before too long! The album closes with a BADASS track called “I Need Another Drink”. This song is so much different from most of the stuff you will hear on the radio. Awesome flow and lyrics, we all know what this one is about!
Hinder is BACK people! Stronger and meaner than ever, Hinder has really transformed themselves into contenders for one of the greatest rock bands. 5/5 by David Rader