Halestorm work hard, really hard. They are about to release a fourth album on top of a live album and multiple EP’s in the last 9 years. Their last album, Into The Wild, peaked at number five in the US Album charts. How do you follow that? You get Vicious, that’s how!
Vocalist Lzzy Hale, drummer Arejay Hale, Bassist Josh Smith and guitarist Joe Hottinger camped themselves in a studio at the beginning of this year and wrote a bunch of songs. Then decided they weren’t good enough and started again. 6 months later we have a balls to wall heavy rock album with vocals from a wild banshee.
Staring with the ‘kick you in the balls’ blast of Black Vultures, what a statement of intent! It’s fast paced, rocks a groove that has your body shaking and those vocals! Hale screams she’s a fighter and not defeated and who are we to disagree, one of the best rock tunes of the year.
Track two Skulls almost starts like a Avril Lavigne pop song until that roar from Hale. The groove from the bass and drums is head thrashing good while the breakdown is brutally heavy. Hale is the perfect example of a rock voice, hell yeah she can sing however she has a rasp to her voice that screams attitude.
Uncomfortable meanwhile channel Hales inner punk rocker. The title sneers what the lyrics are about while Buzz is much slower with bluesy type vibe. That’s the thing about Halestorm, they don’t deny their influences and this is straight from the Joan Jett and Lita Ford class of rock.
The band are not afraid to hide behind anyone’s idea of social etiquette either as Do Not Disturb, driven by that bass line, talks of threesomes, hidden tattoos and everything and everyone in between. This is a theme that continues with Conflicted, a much slower, sensual song, that shows Hale’s bar room drawl at her finest.
Ballad Heart of Novacaine is the calm before the storm that is Painkiller, complete with a fantastic drum rhythm pounding the song and showcases a high pitch that even the metal god Rob Halford himself would be proud off.
The album finishes with The Silence, another song with influences towards Alter Bridge and Led Zeppelin, it’s a beautiful gentle lullaby after the chaos and anarchy before it.
Halestorm are gloriously a mixture of everything you love; pop melodies, head-banging drums, riffs from the depths of hell and songs you’ll attempt to sing when driving in you car. Where it’s enclosed and no one can hear you fail to match Lzzy Hale’s range.
Is this the triumphant return of rock legends? Is the wider world going to notice just what a amazing great singer, possibly the best singer in rock music today, Lzzy Hale is? I hope so however this band is armed with 12 killer tracks, ready to take over the world regardless. They are Halestorm and they are Vicious.
Album Review by Iain McCallum