By Greg Maki
Even at Buckcherry’s height in popularity—think 2006-2007 when songs like “Crazy Bitch,” “Sorry” and “Everything” were burning up airwaves all over the country—its music never was what one would call hip. It’s never been “cool”—whatever that means—to be into a band that, for more than 20 years, has remained staunchly dedicated to its brand of rock ‘n’ roll that owes more than a passing debt to giants such as Aerosmith, AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses. And that’s exactly why Buckcherry has endured: This music is timeless in its purity. Singer Josh Todd might be the only remaining original member, but the band’s focus has never wavered—no dalliances with other, more popular genres, no flirtations with passing trends.
This is a roundabout way of saying that anyone with even a hint of awareness of Buckcherry should know what to expect from “Hellbound,” its ninth studio album. And the band delivers exactly that: 10 songs full of killer hard rock riffs, screaming guitar solos and catchy, singalong vocals, and for the most part, without embellishments like keyboards or anything resembling modern technology. It’s a simple formula, but if it were as easy as Todd and the many musicians who have cycled through the band over the years make it seem, a lot more acts probably would be doing it.
Highlights of “Hellbound” include the explosive opener “54321,” the groovy “Gun” and hip-shaking “Junk.” As the “Monster Ballads” compilation pushed so hard, every bad boy has a soft side, and one of the softer selections here, the bluesy “Wasting No More Time,” is another standout track. Unfortunately, the piano-driven “The Way” immediately follows, which is one ballad too many in a collection of 10 songs. But it’s a good song in its own right, so the damage is minimal.
While unlikely to create many new Buckcherry fans at this point, “Hellbound” is a solid addition to the band’s catalog.
Round Hill Music – June 25, 2021