When Buckcherry launched on the scene in 1999, they were poised to be the next big down ‘n’ dirty hard rock band. From The Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith to Guns n’ Roses, Buckcherry had the same attitude and swagger. Somewhere along the way, it just didn’t happen though. They stood out, faded away, came back stronger, but just haven’t been able to sustain their success since ’15. Their newest album is Warpaint.
Prior to recording Warpaint, they had a major shakeup in their lineup. Out are original guitarist Keith Nelson and drummer Xavier Muriel. In their place is Kevin Roentgen on guitar and Sean Winchester on drums. They join Josh Todd (vocals), Stevie D (guitar) and Kelly LeMieux (bass). I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this lineup. I’m happy to say that Warpaint is a solid CD.
While not a full departure from the Buckcherry sound, they do try some new things with varying results. But it’s the straight-up rock and roll where they continue to shine. Todd gets the band off strong on the hard-hitting opening title track. “Right Now” builds from a funky opening and pre-chorus to a catchy chorus. This one grew on me as I couldn’t quite put my finger on the vibe at first. But it may be the song that most stuck in my head and now I love it.
I had a couple of thoughts when I saw they covered “Head Like a Hole” by Nine Inch Nails. First, I thought that could be a fun song for Buckcherry to pull off. Then I thought that it doesn’t seem like the song has been around long enough for someone to cover it…but it’s been 30 years (yeah, I feel really old now). Overall, it’s just not a great cover. It’s ok, but that’s it. Todd really needed to attack the song with everything he’s got, but it comes off flat.
A couple of lowlights include the country twang on “The Hunger” and the guitar solo on “No Regrets.” It doesn’t fit well on this album. Luckily the best songs on the CD far outshine these. “The Vacuum” is a trippy-type song that Buckcherry seems to have on most of their albums. “Bent” is an all-out rocker where Todd finally goes all in for the best performance on the CD.
Overall, I do miss Keith Nelson on this CD, but the subtle changes in sound work well for the most part. Buckcherry fans should definitely pick this one up. I’m also excited to see them on tour to see how they perform live.