Review Summary: Halestorm returns with their sophomore album, bringing with them the potential album of the year. This is something everybody regardless of musical taste could enjoy.
Halestorm is a band I had stumbled onto one day while scouring Youtube for new and interesting music. I like music from different genres ranging from Seventh Wonder, All That Remains (Older), and Avenged Sevenfold, to Nickelback. What I found lies somewhere in the middle.
Halestorm is fronted my Lzzy Hale, somebody I consider could be one of the best vocalist of the modern era. Her vocals have the raw power and emotion seldom heard within the hard rock/metal genre. Her brother Arejay Hale is the bands drummer, who obviously knows the drum set well. He knows how to perfectly keep tempo and how to compliment the other instruments without stealing the spotlight. Joe Hottinger is on guitar, and he is solid in his roll. Whether it be chugging along with his main riffs, or breaking out an ear-pleasing solo, he does the job. Josh Smith is the bassist, and he is sufficient enough to not notice he is even there at times. But the work completed on this album surely could not have been done without the collaboration of all involved.
Album opener Love Bites (And So Do I) kicks it off with an extremely catchy opening riff that continues through most of the track. Lzzy's vocals on this are superb, especially when she screams how she has had enough of love after the second chorus. I Miss the Misery is a similar track as the aggression in this song can simply overpower you. That and combined with main chorus riff, it is debatable this is the album highlight. Her emotion as she sings the chorus is astounding.
Beautiful With You is the first of the ballads on the album. There is nothing wrong with this song, but it feels slightly out of place here. It is catchy in its own right but doesn't quite belong on this album as far as I'm concerned. The song Break In is a different animal. It makes me think of "My Immortal" by Evanescence. This piano driven ballad is truly touching and made me tear up upon first listen. This shows Halestorms diverse ability to bring different styles to the table in one outing. Rock Show is going to be a live audience staple. Its catchy, pop sound is perfect for crowds to eat up as she sings about the experiences of attending a rock show.
Album closer Here's to us is one of the more laid back, country style tracks here. The lyrics here are magnificent:
"Here's to us
Here's to love
All the times
That we messed up
Here's to you
Fill the glass
Cause the last few nights
Have kicked my ass
If they give you hell
Tell em to go *** themselves!"
It is clearly one of the most radio-friendly songs on the album, although they would have to obviously change some lyrics, like Glee did when they covered the track.
"The Strange Case Of..." is a solid improvement over its predecessor, in terms of the vocals/lyrics, drums, guitar, even the production is more crisp. I would recommend this to everyone, regardless of musical taste. I believe Halestorm have yet to make a splash on audiences and will become a huge player in the future.