This one took me some time to digest, I admit. Snivelling rage gone and replaced by what? Lzzy Hale growing old, going pop and blues rock on me? For sure this is NOT what we expected from Halestorm for their newest, lengthily announced 2015 magic potion Into the Wild Life.
It looks like Halestorm tries to jump on to the mainstream train. Which would of course be much more alluring money-wise than anything else that the band could generate screaming about outside, off the beaten track. But then, they do this mainstream thing Halestorm style, which is reassuring. Meaning with a lot of energy and thumping about.
The change in style to the last album The Strange Case of… from their 2009 self-named record Halestorm was something I still could fathom easily. A softer side from Lzzy together with her usual rage. Cool. But on Into The Wild Life it kind of goes full-blown bluesy R’n’B, metal style on you. A more blues rock ’70s style of music, much less direct. Kind of reminds me of Alex Hepburn in a sense or the swagger of bands that were dominating the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal stages way back in time. But much more aggressive Lzzy in there of course than these guys would ever have mustered, true to her style. And what calmed me down was the parental advisory on the album cover. Not all lost, I thought – big laughter.
And then talking about ’70s: What the hell are these awful keyboard interludes doing in some of these tracks? Good grief! The one in What Sober Couldn’t Say just makes me grind my teeth. Some of that new style stuff has gone totally haywire and I don’t get it.
You have to wait a very long time to see some real old Lzzy appearing again – until Mayhem to be precise, with a friggin’ solo to top. The next one in this department is Apocalyptic (this one has a short, but stellar solo in it too). And the screamer I like it Heavy – the last, but for sure not the least. This last one put a smile on my face. Rough lyrics, scratchy hard rock and all – love it. Even the (somewhat debatable) gospel style end piece is well executed. Good one!
But the beginning is totally new in terms of trademark style! Mixing Hard Rock with more poppy, bluesy stuff. Again with the evil ’70s keyboard grinding in the background. Scream has good rhythm in there and is rocky to the point of getting interesting. I am the Fire and Amen are of the same vein, albeit we do see some of the old Lzzy peeking quickly around the corner. The song taking on steam towards the end, big time. Dear Daughter is the only track that is kind of softer reminiscent to the last album. It speaks about an imaginary daughter, spoken by a – what? – motherly presence.
Well, this is still Halestorm, but a much more mainstream by designe. Evil tongues could call it a whitewashed piece of music. Riff heavy, but very pop and blues rock of the R’n’B pork rib kind at times.
Into The Wild Life is also the most interesting one in terms of flavors and tastes of different kinds. Friends of the old style are gonna hate this one with a capital H. And I am not sure that the band is quite certain where this all goes. But by and large it is a well-rounded album – even if I would call it more of an experimental record than anything else. Scratchy, noisy and with some of the old stuff still included.
One of the main setbacks of Into the Wild Life is indeed that it is banking on old, very old values. We all kind of heard those variations before, whilst the band tried to give their tune the sound and feel of something typical Halestorm. Admittedly, other bands do this too, but they steal better and adapt it to their styles more convincingly. Still a good album, though, which I am gonna continue to listen to. Ways to go on this new road you are traveling now, guys. But tons of potential still available!
Get dat tune:
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