Nickelback: Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake (vocals, guitar); Mike Kroeger (bass); Ryan Vikedal (drums). Recorded at Greenhouse Studios, Burnaby, British Columbia. Those with a short cultural memory say that Canada's Nickelback is reminiscent of power-rockers Creed. To the rest of the world, this means that they're influenced by grunge stalwarts Pearl Jam, which also means they're indebted to vintage alt rock and to '70s hard rock. All these sonic touchstones are readily apparent on THE STATE. The album ostensibly revolves around "Leader of Men," which garnered the most attention on the album's initial release, and which is reprised at the end of the album in an acoustic version just to drive the point home. Anyone drawn in by that cut will find more to like here. The opening track "Breathe" finds Nickelback charging with full force straight out of the gate over a relentless rhythm section and jackhammer guitar riffs. "Deep" slows down the pace to an undulating grind, never releasing the hard-won tension for a moment. While Nickelback may show more of Creed's unrelenting attack than Pearl Jam's eclecticism, fans of either band should feel entirely comfortable in the aural environs of THE STATE.