Oklahoma City quintet Hinder is tearing up commercial radio and Billboard charts with its debut album, Extreme Behavior, proving that replicating the everyman rock of Nickelback and Three Doors Down is still lucrative business. Nothing moves units out of Wal-Mart quite like a sappy post-grunge/post-nü-metal power ballad, and Hinder's latest smash, "Lips of an Angel," is so cheesy, it makes the monster ballads of Bon Jovi and Cinderella seem like high art in retrospect. But to bemoan Hinder's hot spell is to ignore the cardinal rule of radio play and record sales: It doesn't have to be good to be popular.
Blowing Hinder offstage will be Eighteen Visions, which delivered on a promise to produce a Def Leppard-influenced record. Fans may have thought the Orange County screamo/metalcore act was merely joking until they heard the new album: all gang vocals, slick production, and million-dollar melodies. But the self-titled major-label debut shouldn't have been a total surprise: Singer James Hart always wrote a good hook and performed at small venues like a stadium veteran.