By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
There are not of big names in the hard rock field that represents my hometown of Anaheim. It was not until 1999 that one group lit up the field and put Anaheim on the hard rock map. They are known as Buckcherry, and that group is all about fun. Fronted by the tatted-up Josh Todd, Buckcherry are known for fusing party hard rock and rockabilly style punk together. From hit singles like “Lit Up,” “Crazy Bitch,” “Sorry,” “All Night Long,” and “Gluttony,” these bad boys of rock have certainly raised some hell and had a good time doing it. Do not think that the party is over because Buckcherry looks to get it going with their ninth studio album, Hellbound. This is their first release with their new label, Round Hill Music, and they are lucky to have them on board. After many years on the road, can they still make the party lively? Let’s tune in.
Hellbound gets the rock ‘n’ roll train rolling with “54321.” With the countdown initiated, Todd ignites the song with his raw, bluesy voice. Guitar duo Stevie D and Billy Rowe (who joined the band last year) lay out crispy guitar licks, while Stevie D was blazing a solo that smoldered. “So Hott” is the first single, paying homage to the one thing us guys like…hot women! Todd is cool yet white hot as he sings to the gorgeous ones we love. Stevie D hammers another blazing solo coated with a rockabilly vibe. Drummer Francis Ruiz kills it with a straightforward hard rock beat along with bassist Kelly LeMieux. The self-titled track, “Hell Bound,” is where Buckcherry brings back classic rock grooves. With simple riffs and down-the-pipe vocals by Todd, this song is very AC/DC-like. When I hear Rowe’s main riff, it makes sway my hips side to side as I glide on the dance floor (if I could dance, LOL). While this tune does not break any new grounds, it is a fun rock song. “Gun” where country comes in. Buckcherry made an interesting choice to create country rock. Rowe and Stevie D get twangy with their riffs while Todd slickly asks, “do you wanna go for a ride.” The way Stevie D performs the solo is like what “Atomic” Adam Shoenfeld created for Big & Rich or Jason Aldean. “No More Lies” puts the heavy riffs aside for something glossier. The group continues with the country vibe except the tempo is turned up a bit. This song is perfect for hoedowns and rock bars.
“Here I Come” marks the halfway point of Hellbound, and the party gets lively once again. The vivacious drumbeat of Ruiz is jolting, while LeMieux brings glamour to the bass lines. Stevie D is on fire with the solo for this tune. “Junk” adds some funk flavor thanks to LeMieux’s fervent performance here. The tone is a little bit lower, but I feel that is what makes the song great. Todd is slick and menacing with his voice; this I like very much. Rowe is smooth as silk while Stevie D is razor sharp especially with his solo. On “Wasting No More Time,” Buckcherry returns to country town. The main riff sounds like Carrie Underwood’s classic “Before He Cheats,” but they make it their own. The efforts to breed country rock with a power ballad vibe can at times sound stagnant, but it is still enjoyable. “The Way” is the true ballad of Hellbound. Todd pours out his soul in this tune as he plays the piano. Ruiz keeps the beat simple as Rowe brings a romantic feel to the guitar. Stevie D slays the lovely harmony with his steamy solo. Buckcherry won hearts when they put out “Sorry” back in 2006, and I think this will tuck on some more heart strings. The album draws to a close with “Barricade.” This modern rock tune brings heavy guitar riffs and sweet harmony together. Todd finishes the album off with stellar pipes, but the real scene stealer was Stevie D’s last towering solo.
Buckcherry’s ninth release proves they still know how to party. Hellbound is full of fun and exciting hard rock pleasure. The bad boys of Anaheim certainly know how to make rock ‘n’ roll fun again. It does not really offer anything groundbreaking, but these guys do not need it. All they need is a to bring a good buzz to rock fans everywhere, and this album does that. To Buckcherry, I salute you. Horns up!!!
02. So Hott
05. No More Lies
06. Here I Come
08. Wasting No More Time
09. The Way
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