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Check Yourself 

Hard-rocking, hard-partying band Hinder did a gut-check at the perfect time.

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For awhile there, it looked like Hinder was more interested in living the rock-and-roll lifestyle than getting serious about its career.

The band has been somewhat legendary for its party-loving ways on tour. And their music — especially on the group’s first two records, Extreme Behavior and Take It To The Limit — played into the image that Hinder was always up for a good time.

But with its newest record, All American Nightmare, the band has started showing that a little maturity may be creeping into its music, its career and maybe even its on-tour lifestyle. And perhaps that’s because they reeled the party back a little while they were making it.

The band’s third album comes after an eventful five years. Extreme Behavior put Hinder on the map in a big way with its rowdy, hookfilled rock with a bit of a 1980s metal. Their ballad “Lips Of An Angel,” became the album’s big hit, crossing over to pop radio and topping multiple charts. That song had a hand in keeping Extreme Behavior on the charts for 70 weeks.

But then Take It To The Limit came out and was viewed as a disappointment by critics. Entertainment Weekly panned the record, saying it lacked originality and was brimming with a “preponderance of madonna/whore issues.” Despite that, the album went gold with sales of more than 500,000 copies and generated a hit single in “Use Me.”

“Personally I love the songs on Take It To The Limit,” Cody Hanson, the band’s drummer, says by phone. “I just think that the whole set-up for the record was done wrong in terms of radio and the way it was pushed onto people and marketed.”

Still, the downturn in album sales weighed on Hinder. The band questioned its effort. Where the band wrote and recorded only 18 songs for what became the 11-song Take It To The Limit, Hinder wrote some 70 songs and recorded 50 for All American Nightmare.

“We decided, all right, if [the drop in sales] was our fault and if the record wasn’t good enough, then we’re not going to take that chance again,” Hanson said. “We’re going to go out and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that this thing is as good as it can be.”

Hanson noted that while the group hasn’t given up its partying ways while on tour, he feels personally he has grown into a more mature adult over the past few years.

“As we’ve gotten older, especially on this album, we kind of learned not to take this job for granted,” Hanson said.

On All American Nightmare, the band avoids playing to pop trends. And overall, the music takes a heavier turn. Still, there are still plenty of power ballads (the particularly reflective “What Ya Gonna Do”), but most of the rockers (including “Strip Tease,” “2 Sides Of Me” and “Waking Up The Devil”) have beefier riffs and a darker tone than earlier material.

“It turned out great in my opinion,” Hanson says. “And if not, we had a lot of fun making it and we’ve never been more proud of a record.”

Hinder plays with Black Stone Cherry and the Envy • Sun, April 17, at 8 pm • Knitting Factory • $25 • All-ages • • 244-3279

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