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Rock - Released October 27, 2017 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released April 1, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

Scars and Souvenirs, the third album from Theory of a Deadman, sounds like a rehash of the band's first two albums -- which is to say that it sounds like every Nickelback album ever made. They may have a reason, given that Chad Kroeger signed them to his 604 Records label in 2001, but reasons are neither excuses nor a free pass for mimicry. Throughout Scars and Souvenirs, Theory of a Deadman appropriate the melodies, vocals, choruses, and riffs of their mentors, resulting in a sound so derivative that the album's liner notes are the best (or perhaps only) way to confirm that this is not, in fact, Kroeger and company. Many examples abound, but the best is "Not Meant to Be," a song whose melody and chorus bear more than a passing resemblance to All the Right Reasons' "Rockstar." Like their previous effort, Gasoline, Theory of a Deadman turned to producer Howard Benson on Scars and Souvenirs, which could explain why the album sticks to the same sounds and formulas instead of branching out in a new direction. The problem is that it's not a particularly winning formula, especially when it's coupled with lyrics that place lead singer Tyler Connolly in the role of a spoiled, histrionic rock star who tries to connect with his audience through scenarios that range from the legitimate to the frankly bizarre. In "Hate My Life," a whiny entitlement diatribe that sounds like an emo tune crafted for the midlife crisis crowd, Connolly complains about the homeless and bad drivers before ragging on his wife, the dating pool, and how he hates "that I can't tell when a girl's underage." It's a creepy introduction into disturbingly misogynistic undercurrents that continue in the next song, "Little Smirk," which chronicles how a man takes revenge on a cheating partner through humiliation, followed by systematically stealing and/or destroying everything they have. (Connolly's protagonist also kidnaps the partner's child for good measure.) The bad taste from this one song lingers for the rest of the album, totally negating any inherent tenderness to be found in the mediocre ballad "Wait for Me." Not that it needed any help -- while the lyrics are sweet enough, they certainly don't break any ground in the romance department, and the music retreads the same chords, melody, and chorus structures as the rest of Scars and Souvenirs. It's also delivered with a default mix of anger and angst, the same emotional tone that informs all the songs on the album. While no artist is required to make monumental leaps in artistry with each of their releases, Theory of a Deadman seem to be stuck in first gear here. It makes Scars and Souvenirs nonessential, given that nothing has changed. ~ Katherine Fulton
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Rock - Released March 28, 2005 | Roadrunner Records

Chad Kroeger isn't as close to Gasoline as he was Theory of a Deadman's 2002 debut, which he co-produced and helped write. But his Nickelback-ian bellow is still a primary influence on Theory frontman and principal songwriter Tyler Connelly, and Gasoline's read of the grunge handbook is just as broad. The acoustic touches on "Hello Lonely" and "Santa Monica" are a respite from the record's processed distortion hammer, but only in the way Tantric bludgeons the tradition of Alice in Chains' Jar of Flies EP. No, Gasoline's main thrust is Connelly's brooding over a departed girlfriend, which he does incessantly as his band methodically transforms 1990s grunge dynamics into mindless 21st century hard rock thud. Opener "Hating Hollywood" roars on the siphoned power of a riff you've heard a million times before, "No Way Out" overdoses on yowling wah-wah pedal, and "Better Off" is another three minutes of meaty guitar setting up a cynical, one-dimensional chorus: "I don't care about anyone/You know that I'm better off," in this case. "No Surprise" has a similarly unfortunate swagger -- "It ain't no surprise/Woah that that bitch is leaving me" -- but its melody at least carries it as a single. Barely. Gasoline's remainder drops in a power ballad ("Since You've Been Gone"), a bluesy throwaway ("Hell Just Ain't the Same"), and songs like "Quiver" and "Save the Best for Last" that would slot into anything by Nickelback or Puddle of Mudd without the turn of a tuning peg. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Rock - Released July 8, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

Four albums and ten years later, Theory of a Deadman are still content to be Nickelback’s baby brothers, eagerly following within the footsteps of their bigger, tougher siblings. Every song on The Truth Is... sounds as if it were ghost-written by Chad Kroeger, mirroring his singsong hooks and clubfooted rhythms; TOAD distinguish themselves from Nickelback by cleaning up and toning down the production, and adding some canned horns for a veneer of class. Maybe all this relative sweetness is why the group tries so hard to sound hard, frontman Tyler Connolly trumping Kroeger’s legendary misogyny with such gnarled nuggets of hate as “Bitch Came Back,” “Gentleman,” and “The Truth Is...(I Lied About Everything).” Subscribing to the Tom Leykis school of relationships, Connolly concludes that he likes his current girl “so much better when she’s down on her knees” and tells his ex that “I really hate your face, you were never that hot in the first place,” sentiments so strong they undercut the token lovelorn ballads here (as well as the sincerity of his wannabe military recruitment anthem “We Were Men”), but the real problem is that he doesn’t sound like a self-described “Lowlife,” he sounds like a pretty boy pandering to frat boys on spring break. This isn’t ugly visceral music; it’s castrated rock with a rotten heart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released April 28, 2015 | Roadrunner Records

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Rock - Released July 8, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

Despite the alienating snarl of the title Savages, Theory of a Deadman find space for guests on their fifth album. Alice Cooper wanders into the title track to mumble a recitation and Joe Don Rooney -- aka the Rascal Flatt who plays guitar but doesn't front the band -- comes in for the tongue-in-cheek "Livin' My Life Like a Country Song." This isn't the only time TOAD play around on Savages. They jab at Chris Brown and the Kardashians on "Blow," they claim they're living through "World War Me," they write an ode to their "Panic Room," and they enlist a children's choir to help them bring "The Sun Has Set on Me" to its rousing conclusion. Technically, a couple of these cuts probably don't qualify as intentional jokes but they are indeed ridiculous -- overheated post-grunge distinguished only by its macho lumber. As before, producer Howard Benson gives TOAD a muscular sound that accentuates the group's debt to Nickelback -- they both specialize in growled singsong riffs -- and his sinewy sheen is perhaps a bit better than the group deserves; he shines the big, dumb hooks and layers the riffs so they contain a visceral force that isn't within the songs themselves. So, Savages is listenable on the surface, but dig deeper -- or simply take the time to listen to Tyler Connolly's lyrics -- and the sonic spell quickly fades, because beneath all that metallic gloss there's nothing but nasty, vacuous nonsense. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - To be released January 31, 2020 | Atlantic Records

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Say Nothing is the seventh studio album from Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman and follows 2017's Wake Up Call. Recorded in London with producer Martin Terefe (James Blunt, Mike Posner), the album sees the group dealing with social issues including domestic violence, racism, and American politics. The single "History of Violence" is included. ~ Rich Wilson
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Rock - Released July 28, 2017 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released July 8, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

Four albums and ten years later, Theory of a Deadman are still content to be Nickelback’s baby brothers, eagerly following within the footsteps of their bigger, tougher siblings. Every song on The Truth Is... sounds as if it were ghost-written by Chad Kroeger, mirroring his singsong hooks and clubfooted rhythms; TOAD distinguish themselves from Nickelback by cleaning up and toning down the production, and adding some canned horns for a veneer of class. Maybe all this relative sweetness is why the group tries so hard to sound hard, frontman Tyler Connolly trumping Kroeger’s legendary misogyny with such gnarled nuggets of hate as “Bitch Came Back,” “Gentleman,” and “The Truth Is...(I Lied About Everything).” Subscribing to the Tom Leykis school of relationships, Connolly concludes that he likes his current girl “so much better when she’s down on her knees” and tells his ex that “I really hate your face, you were never that hot in the first place,” sentiments so strong they undercut the token lovelorn ballads here (as well as the sincerity of his wannabe military recruitment anthem “We Were Men”), but the real problem is that he doesn’t sound like a self-described “Lowlife,” he sounds like a pretty boy pandering to frat boys on spring break. This isn’t ugly visceral music; it’s castrated rock with a rotten heart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released March 28, 2005 | Roadrunner Records

Chad Kroeger isn't as close to Gasoline as he was Theory of a Deadman's 2002 debut, which he co-produced and helped write. But his Nickelback-ian bellow is still a primary influence on Theory frontman and principal songwriter Tyler Connelly, and Gasoline's read of the grunge handbook is just as broad. The acoustic touches on "Hello Lonely" and "Santa Monica" are a respite from the record's processed distortion hammer, but only in the way Tantric bludgeons the tradition of Alice in Chains' Jar of Flies EP. No, Gasoline's main thrust is Connelly's brooding over a departed girlfriend, which he does incessantly as his band methodically transforms 1990s grunge dynamics into mindless 21st century hard rock thud. Opener "Hating Hollywood" roars on the siphoned power of a riff you've heard a million times before, "No Way Out" overdoses on yowling wah-wah pedal, and "Better Off" is another three minutes of meaty guitar setting up a cynical, one-dimensional chorus: "I don't care about anyone/You know that I'm better off," in this case. "No Surprise" has a similarly unfortunate swagger -- "It ain't no surprise/Woah that that bitch is leaving me" -- but its melody at least carries it as a single. Barely. Gasoline's remainder drops in a power ballad ("Since You've Been Gone"), a bluesy throwaway ("Hell Just Ain't the Same"), and songs like "Quiver" and "Save the Best for Last" that would slot into anything by Nickelback or Puddle of Mudd without the turn of a tuning peg. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Rock - Released October 27, 2017 | Atlantic Records

The Canadian bro-rockers sixth studio long-player, the aptly named Wake Up Call finds Theory of a Deadman dialing back on the Nickelback-isms and delivering a streamlined (and nearly guitar-less) set of radio-friendly pop songs that (more or less) favors genuine emotion over callow frat boy misogyny. Frontman Tyler Connolly cites the procurement of a home piano and the revelation that "progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything" as mitigating factors in the group's newfound "wokeness," but he also knows what side his bread is buttered on -- lurid opener "Straight Jacket" and the equitably boorish "Po Mouth" cater to the group's worst tendencies. That said, the rest of Wake Up Call displays a level of lyrical maturity that has eluded the band since they first inked a deal with Chad Kroeger's 604 Records in 2001. Tracks like the heartfelt title cut, the fist-pumping "PCH," and the refreshingly non-judgmental opioid crisis anti-anthem "Rx" feel rooted in the present, despite their predictable paint-by-numbers melodies. In ditching the wan underbite rock of prior outings, TOADM has unearthed a flair for crafting big pop bangers that split the difference between the glowstick and energy drink allure of Imagine Dragons and the agreeable, arena-sized trad-pop of Coldplay. It's not a complete sea change, though some fans, especially those that lean harder toward the knuckle dragger side of the dude-bro spectrum, might feel compelled to jump ship, but it's a noticeable enough shift in temperament that the group's myriad detractors should feel compelled to give the fellas some credit for stepping out of their man cave. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Rock - Released April 1, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

Scars and Souvenirs, the third album from Theory of a Deadman, sounds like a rehash of the band's first two albums -- which is to say that it sounds like every Nickelback album ever made. They may have a reason, given that Chad Kroeger signed them to his 604 Records label in 2001, but reasons are neither excuses nor a free pass for mimicry. Throughout Scars and Souvenirs, Theory of a Deadman appropriate the melodies, vocals, choruses, and riffs of their mentors, resulting in a sound so derivative that the album's liner notes are the best (or perhaps only) way to confirm that this is not, in fact, Kroeger and company. Many examples abound, but the best is "Not Meant to Be," a song whose melody and chorus bear more than a passing resemblance to All the Right Reasons' "Rockstar." Like their previous effort, Gasoline, Theory of a Deadman turned to producer Howard Benson on Scars and Souvenirs, which could explain why the album sticks to the same sounds and formulas instead of branching out in a new direction. The problem is that it's not a particularly winning formula, especially when it's coupled with lyrics that place lead singer Tyler Connolly in the role of a spoiled, histrionic rock star who tries to connect with his audience through scenarios that range from the legitimate to the frankly bizarre. In "Hate My Life," a whiny entitlement diatribe that sounds like an emo tune crafted for the midlife crisis crowd, Connolly complains about the homeless and bad drivers before ragging on his wife, the dating pool, and how he hates "that I can't tell when a girl's underage." It's a creepy introduction into disturbingly misogynistic undercurrents that continue in the next song, "Little Smirk," which chronicles how a man takes revenge on a cheating partner through humiliation, followed by systematically stealing and/or destroying everything they have. (Connolly's protagonist also kidnaps the partner's child for good measure.) The bad taste from this one song lingers for the rest of the album, totally negating any inherent tenderness to be found in the mediocre ballad "Wait for Me." Not that it needed any help -- while the lyrics are sweet enough, they certainly don't break any ground in the romance department, and the music retreads the same chords, melody, and chorus structures as the rest of Scars and Souvenirs. It's also delivered with a default mix of anger and angst, the same emotional tone that informs all the songs on the album. While no artist is required to make monumental leaps in artistry with each of their releases, Theory of a Deadman seem to be stuck in first gear here. It makes Scars and Souvenirs nonessential, given that nothing has changed. ~ Katherine Fulton
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Rock - Released July 28, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

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Despite the alienating snarl of the title Savages, Theory of a Deadman find space for guests on their fifth album. Alice Cooper wanders into the title track to mumble a recitation and Joe Don Rooney -- aka the Rascal Flatt who plays guitar but doesn't front the band -- comes in for the tongue-in-cheek "Livin' My Life Like a Country Song." This isn't the only time TOAD play around on Savages. They jab at Chris Brown and the Kardashians on "Blow," they claim they're living through "World War Me," they write an ode to their "Panic Room," and they enlist a children's choir to help them bring "The Sun Has Set on Me" to its rousing conclusion. Technically, a couple of these cuts probably don't qualify as intentional jokes but they are indeed ridiculous -- overheated post-grunge distinguished only by its macho lumber. As before, producer Howard Benson gives TOAD a muscular sound that accentuates the group's debt to Nickelback -- they both specialize in growled singsong riffs -- and his sinewy sheen is perhaps a bit better than the group deserves; he shines the big, dumb hooks and layers the riffs so they contain a visceral force that isn't within the songs themselves. So, Savages is listenable on the surface, but dig deeper -- or simply take the time to listen to Tyler Connolly's lyrics -- and the sonic spell quickly fades, because beneath all that metallic gloss there's nothing but nasty, vacuous nonsense. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 9, 2002 | Roadrunner Records

Chad Kroeger, signed Theory of a Deadman to his label, co-produced this album and co-wrote six of the ten songs. So it's not a huge surprise that Theory of a Deadman sounds a lot like Kroeger's band Nickelback. This album does have its strengths -- for example, the songs tend to be concise (although "The Last Song" could be a minute shorter) with relatively strong hooks -- but anyone who dislikes Nickelback, or wants a band with a distinctly original sound, is advised to look elsewhere. In fairness, Theory of a Deadman probably has other influences; lead vocalist Tyler Connelly sounds like he's listened to a lot of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, and the band's guitar-driven post-grunge sound seems to have been influenced by groups such as Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. In any case, this is a solidly crafted but fairly conventional album; it lacks that extra spark of creativity, spontaneity, or passion that might compensate for the band's safe, conservative approach to music. ~ Todd Kristel
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Rock - Released September 25, 2019 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released July 11, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

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Rock - Released June 10, 2014 | Roadrunner Records

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Rock - Released November 3, 2017 | Atlantic Records

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Rock - Released September 9, 2002 | Roadrunner Records

Ambient/New Age - Released November 11, 2016 | Roadrunner Records

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