Cinder Road

Look, let's just face it, OK? Hard-rock power balladry is never gonna go away. As much as some of us might want it to, as much as it routinely falls out of vogue, there are always going to be bands interested in doing it — and hungry fans salivating to eat it up whenever they can. If you count yourself as one of them, you're probably in luck with Cinder Road. A Baltimore-area five-piece that seeks to achieve an "old-school rock" sound with "new-school validity," Cinder Road hits the mid-point between '80s-styled hair metal and the so-called "modern rock" of the '90s with bull's-eye precision. If you liked the sugar-coated earnestness of Extreme's "More Than Words," the blooze-boogie stomp of, say, Junkyard, and the overt formula of Stone Temple Pilots, then Cinder Road's major-label debut, SuperHuman, has all the flavors you already know you like. Say what you will about its crass careerism (the band put out a call for people taking pictures of themselves buying the album); at least Cinder Road is being upfront about what it wants, declaring flat-out that its "radio-friendly" music "pushes the right buttons to win-over the masses." Well, alrighty then. You can't really argue with that.