ALBUM REVIEW: Halestorm – Vicious
Lzzy Hale has made no secret about her struggles with self-doubt and depression and she’s even admitted in saying that she didn’t know if she could still perform or write to the level that fans expected. To be one of the most premier female rock stars on the planet is a mighty burden for anyone, but after listening to Vicious repeatedly we can say with upmost confidence that the material is just as good, if not better, than what’s come before. To put it simply, this will be one of the best rock albums of 2018!
Existing fans should have no reason for concern; the riffs, the vocals and that raw emotion Halestorm are world renowned for is still there. The album starts with Black Vultures and is exactly how you want a Halestorm album to start: screaming vocals, guitars and drums. Straightaway you can tell Lzzy has not lost any of her oomph, and the opening lines “Black vultures circling the…Black vultures circling the…Black vultures circling the…Black vultures circling the sky” is clearly a dig at her critics who, after this album, may be few and far between.
Currently in the Top 10 Billboard Rock Charts is Uncomfortable; this is more radio-friendly track, with the catchy beat and fast lyrics, plus it gives Arejay Hale a chance to show off on the drums – if you ever get a chance, he is well worth watching live!
Halestorm have always had the tendency to include a raunchy track in the mix and Do Not Disturb satisfies that craving: “I’m on the very top floor room 1334. There’s a king size bed but we can do it on the floor. Turn your cellphone off, leave a sign on the door. That says do not disturb”; and that’s one of the tamer lines, bound to get most people hot under the collar! This is one of the more playful tracks of the album and we bet the band had a fun time coming up with the lyrics for it.
Our standout track must be the recently released Killing Ourselves To Live, it’s dark, raw and emotional and everything a Halestorm track needs to be. There is a sadness and vulnerability to it, which extends to the next track Heart of Novocaine, and despite both tracks being completely different they touch on the vulnerabilities that Lzzy talked about. The album is much more than a load of songs chucked together: most of the album was scrapped half way through; each track has a meaning; a purpose; and we’re taken on this emotional journey through the songs.
Fans of ballads won’t be disappointed. The album ends with The Silence, which again shows off the incredible vocal range Lzzy has. There’s a part of this track where it’s just Lzzy singing with no backing instruments and you can just imagine her ending a concert with this. This is one of those tracks where you need to sit down and listen to every line word for word, to realise just how intense and full of hurt her vocals can be.
A lot of the effort and content has been down to producer Nick Raskulinecz, who’s worked alongside the likes of Alice In Chains and Foo Fighters. Lzzy has admitted that “Nick pushed us from 10 to 11. He pushed us mentally and physically. There are some things on this record that I didn’t think was physically possible for both myself and my bandmates. It was really exciting to see that happen for the first time in the studio. To be able to still surprise each other like that – and to surprise yourself – is no small feat.”
And we as an audience can tell. There is no filler or half-baked track. The album is outstanding throughout and as we mentioned at the beginning of this review, it’s easily a candidate for album of the year!
Stand Out Tracks: Heart of Novocaine, Killing Ourselves to Live
For Fans Of: Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains,
Written by: Omar Malick