'Silver Side Up’ became only the second album since Guess Who’s ‘American Woman’ to simultaneously hold the number one position in the rock charts in both Canada and America. No wonder it went 5 times platinum in the States alone.
Nickelback have come a long way since they recorded their first E.P. ‘Hesher’ after borrowing $4000 to record it in 1996 (Their debut album ‘Curb followed shortly after). Big arena tours have followed, together with all the trappings associated with a successful band.
‘The Long Road’ is potentially a difficult album to deliver, taking into account the success of its predecessor, and the success that lead singer Chad Kroeger has enjoyed with his various side projects; Default, the launch of 604 Records and the hit single ‘Hero’, all theoretically subjecting him to over-exposure. Indeed they now have such a distinctive sound that it could be an easy option to criticize the band for rehashing the same formula in order to capitalize on past glories. It is a valid argument that, the new pseudo ballad single ‘Someday’ has more than a passing resemblance to ‘How You Remind Me’ but it isn’t the same song. The whole affair is way rougher and less one paced than ‘Silver Side Up’. Opener ‘Flat On the Floor’, ‘Do this Anymore’, ‘Believe it or Not’ and ‘Feelin’Way Too Damn Good’ rock like never before-broken up only once for the aforementioned ‘Someday’- with massive guitars coupled to the signature hooks. The Metallica influences are clearer than ever during ‘The Long Road’. Even Kroeger’s lyrical outlook has become rosier, with angst finely tempered with some lighter touches; on ‘Figured you Out’ he declares, “ I like your pants around your feet”.
Some of the guitar density lessens during the third quarter of the album due to the nature of the songs-namely ‘Should Have Listened’, ‘Throw Yourself Away’ and ‘See You at the show- which are more textured, combining melancholic bridges and interludes with the compulsory brute force.
With ‘The Long Road’ Nickelback have comprehensively avoided the pitfalls that could have led to their demise. What you are witnessing is their undoubted elevation onto the podium as the worlds number one rock band. Come in Metallica your time is up!