Take It to the Limit

by: Hinder

Like their former tourmates and eternal soulmates Buckcherry, Hinder work real hard to have a real good time, working so hard that the only thing that can be heard is their effort, how they turn parties into grimy menial labor. This is especially true on Take It to the Limit, a self-satisfied sequel to their 2005 debut, Extreme Behavior, where they take their surprise success as vindication for bad behavior, the worst of it being their eager embrace of every dumb sleaze-rock cliché to emanate from the Sunset Strip in 1988. Hinder show a great love for Guns N' Roses, recycling the escalating chromatic riff from "Sweet Child O' Mine" on the album opening pair of "Use Me" and "Loaded and Alone," which also finds lead singer Austin Winkler adopting an Axl Rose growl, which is a welcome departure from his node-busting scream. Not that Hinder is quite stuck in the past: their great innovation is marrying this raunch to Goo Goo Dolls power ballads, the kind supposedly for the ladies but which inevitably wind up as sonic wallpaper in big box stores. Of course, when Hinder do slow things down it's only to berate a girlfriend who may have been turning Winkler into a cuckold, so perhaps it's better that they spend their time singing about booze (all the better for a band whose tour is sponsored by Jagermeister!) -- the same booze that might cloud their judgment so much that they don't realize that six of their 11 songs on Take It to the Limit all borrow their titles from well-known tunes: "Use Me," "Up All Night," "Without You," "Take It to the Limit," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Heaven Sent" (and "Last Kiss Goodbye" and "Far from Home" come quite close to qualifying for this category, too). This repetition hammers home Hinder's stultifying lack of imagination and even that would be excusable if the group had a scintilla of sleaze but like anybody too beholden to their idols, they tread the familiar ground too carefully, winding up as bland by-the-book bad boys. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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