Halestorm – Halestorm (2009) – Review

RockmusicRaider Review - Halestorm - Halestorm - Album CoverI had never heard of Lzzy Hale before and for sure nothing of a US band called Halestorm. Wassatt? A spelling mistake? Well, folks, joking stopped like right away when I started to listen to their first track on their album named after themselves. Got me stand up straight, starting to rock away through the neighborhood to the amusement of people around me. Holy. Shit.

Since then they have my undivided attention and I have Lzzy and her band in highest esteem. Halestorm produce high quality Hard Rock of a kind that you will have trouble finding across the music industry these days. Produced and spit out with an aggressive stance that evokes Death Metal bands like Arch Enemy who act with a similar kind of aggressiveness. Of course not of the same style and I would not suggest they go that route – clear voice is the way to go for this act. And I really like their swagger, just kind of cute, I would say. And it is this sniveling, snarling passion that permeates the whole production – some sort of ‘you can’t get rid of me, I WILL tell my story’ kind of approach.

Actually Lzzy and her brother Arejay started their gig in 1998 – oh yeah – and from then on pretty much produced their own music. First with the help of their father, then more standalone. They have been touring forever with their productions, but the operation really took off once they started with this here album Halestorm. The Strange Case Of followed this one a few years later, but this is food for another review. 

The record grabs your attention straight from the beginning. They just roar out of the gate. No needless intros and outros that other bands are so fond of (unendingly grateful I am for this..). And, mind you, this is not the purist AC/CD style Hard Rock or Heavy Metal sound that you will find there, but something much more refined. Their tune is of a maturity that can only be found in the very talented. And for sure hardly in bands of so young an age.

The first two tracks It’s not You and I get Off just take you along the journey, very fast indeed. Then comes Bet U Wish U had me Back, which is a bit slower. But it comes with a stellar refrain, describing some love affair that Lzzy seems to have had. In fact, a lot of the songs are of and about Lzzy’s different stations and situations in life.

The album is very varied, alternating between pure and rock hard Hard Rock (with some Metal injected at times) and slower tracks like Familiar Taste of Poison. However, no slow ballads that you will find in later productions. Some of my co-reviewers opined that the slower tracks were produced to please the mainstream listener, but I would not go as far.

Actually none of the tracks in Halestorm are really bad, but the album somewhat loses steam toward the last third. This is not surprising. It would indeed be difficult to maintain the juice at those high levels right through all the tracks. I am missing the stellar riffs and solos that come that later productions like The Strange Case of… so aptly display. Yet here the guitar work more follows the tune, than leading it. Also, it is not as neatly produced as its successor, but still good quality. 

This outfit has a lot more potential than it has shown to date. I do hope they re-wire themselves and progress rapidly into the Metal arena, kicking it up a couple of notches. 

But by and large, I really love this album. Bought it back in 2010 and still listening to it from time to time. This is another band on the eternal RMR watch list. They have promise and already showed that they can increase spice in future productions. But this is a case for up-coming reviews.

*****

Record Rating: 9/10 | Label: Atlantic Records  | Web: Official Site

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