Almost a year ago to the day, Austin Winkler stunned the hard rock world with his departure from Hinder. Hard Rock Daddy featured an article questioning whether or not the band could survive the loss of one of its founding members, who also happened to be a key songwriter with an instantly-recognizable voice. It took nearly a year to find out what the band would sound like without Winkler, but the moment has finally arrived. This week, Hinder released the first single with new frontman, Nolan Neal, entitled “Hit The Ground.”
Reinventing a band with a new vocalist replacing a vocalist with a very distinct sound can be challenging, to say the least. The first thing that you notice when listening to “Hit The Ground” is that the latest incarnation of Hinder is still incredibly melodic, albeit with slightly “cleaner” vocals than Winkler’s signature, raspy sound.
It took more than one listen to get used to Hinder with Neal at the helm, but that has more to do with accepting change than Neal’s ability to fill the shoes of the band’s original frontman. Though it took some getting used to, the fact of the matter is that the more that you listen to “Hit The Ground,” the better it gets.
Though this opinion is based on only one song, it appears as though Hinder has “threaded the needle” by choosing Neal as Winkler’s replacement. Hinder deserves a ton of credit for finding a singer that is in the same wheelhouse as Winkler, but with a style that is all his own.
“Hit The Ground” has radio hit written all over it, due in no small part to Neal’s melodic vocals, which are complemented by Hinder’s proven ability to captivate listeners with big hooks and infectious choruses.
The first album with this lineup will not be released until 2015, but if the first single is any indication of what’s to come, it is very likely that these Oklahoma rockers will “hit the ground” running, and pick up where they left off before Winkler’s surprising departure.