Halestorm – The Strange Case of … (2012) – Review

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Hahaa!! Right up my alley! Halestorm at its best, delivering some solid Heavy Rock and then some with The Strange Case of…!

Taking off at full speed, Lzzy Hale is doing her very best with aggressive vocals of love and pain. Feelings about rock shows and … soft stuff. Yes! You heard right! Soft stuff, not only tough like on the previous record. On their previous one, you were wondering who is the toughest guy on the set. No woman there, right? Lzzy – are you getting old or what?

Of course, there is not much new in this album. Apart from adding a gazillion of amps to an already loud style. And the more soulful tracks that were thrown in. And this is brave from them to do so, albeit that they take a risk or two. Reason being that the slower songs are sometimes so full of soft emotions that the hard-core fans could walk away.

And then, there are the more puritan parts of the fan crowd that might think there is too much sex on The Strange Case Of… But this is part of the allure, folks. And always has been. Remember the age-old ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’ often used in early rock and metal? This is still going and for sure selling records. Make no mistake about it.

The mixture between goddamn friggin’ riffing and soloing and – all of a sudden – rock-hard, highly emotional soft stuff coming up is just irresistible. This is what we are looking for. The Strange Case of… clearly is a step up from their last production Halestorm which rocked me right out of my reverie when first listening to it.

And all this in a somewhat stale scene that just does not produce a lot of good material anymore. Of course, forever apart from the dominating age-old rock grandpas that soon will have a heart attack on stage (or elsewhere, if they fool around…).

The hammer is that the first track Love Bites (So Do I) won Halestorm the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in February 2013. And for good reason. This is very good, very typical Lzzy at her very best, some pandemonium included. 

Mz. Hyde is a funny/aggressive tale of – what? – a split personality of someone with a monster in her closet? “Welcome to the nightmare in my head” – stellar. Well, I like it, specifically the fact that she sings the good and evil parts with a different intonation. Just perfect. 

This is followed by I miss the Misery again full speed and good lyrics. You have to love the words used to lament the failed relationship this describes. Beautiful with You and In Your Room are very nice, soft (Halestorm progression style, mind you..) ballads talking about relational emotions and friends not wanting to open up. 

Break In and Rock Show handle the thorny relationship with a band and their fan community, specifically during shows. Well done and I like Rock Show with the soft start, scaling up to a superbly played, intense end that is very well executed.

Last, but not least Private Parts in the bonus tracks – if you have them – is one of their best, but also kind of the odd piece out – linking directly to Beautiful with You and In your Room

The Strange Case of … showcases the outstanding work of the band overall, very good drum contribution, and – of course – the stellar guitar work with excellent riffs and solos. Lzzy Hale for sure kicks up a helluva storm, albeit of a darker, more thoughtful kind this time. But – what can I say – still a typical Halestorm album. And this time you get soft and hard, hot and cold in one absolutely juicy rock-filled rocking roller coaster. Well done.

As a last note, I am hearing that by the end of 2014 a new album comes out. I am looking forward to it. 

Record Rating: 10/10 | Label: Atlantic Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 10 April 2012

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