Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Halestorm "Halestorm"

I had so much fun writing about Halestorm’s The Strange Case Of... album a few months ago that I decided I’d go back to their self-titled debut album. I discovered Halestorm when the first Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival was announced. Since there was no way I was going to miss what was essentially an Avenged Sevenfold/Disturbed co-headliner, I checked out what other bands were going to be there. Only two really caught my attention, and the main one was Halestorm. This was approximately a year after the April 2009 release of their debut album, so I immediately went to HMV to pick it up.

At the time, understandably no one really knew them. Despite managing the opening slot on the main stage of that Uproar tour, Halestorm were nothing compare to what they eventually became. So when it came time to meeting them for the first (of two) time(s) after their show on that tour, the bands eyes sparkled at the knowledge that they already had a fan. I obviously was not the first, and soon after than I certainly was not the last.

It’s understandable, really. I’m not quite sure when these whole crazes of female sung rock bands started, but if you look around at how many there are now, it’s unbelievable. I don’t remember too many before Halestorm, but I certainly remember boatloads to have come since; none of which feature a singer with the ranges and capabilities of lead vocalist Lzzy Hale. Her natural singing voice as itself sounds spectacular, but it’s when she really belts out her screams that she shows why she is light years ahead of almost all modern vocalists, both male and female.

The self title debut has been somewhat forgotten from their setlist since the release of The Strange Case Off..., but the two fan favourites from their debut which I don’t see ever leaving the bands live setlists are the albums first two tracks; It’s Not You and I Get Off. Both tracks are two of the bands ultimate hard rock songs that fans regard as anthems. Both are songs you can’t help but sing along with. These songs show off the bat the bands capabilities and early knowledge of what rock music was lacking at the time of this albums release. What Were You Expecting and Dirty Work are two other tracks on the album with the sheer arena crumbling sound that the two opening tracks have.

The band did not shy away from having a few songs with a softer melodic and almost ballad-like tempo. Four songs; Bet U Wish U Had Me Back, Familiar Taste of Poison, I’m Not An Angel and Better Sorry Than Safe are all beautiful songs that sound completely different from one another. Bet U Wish You Had Me Back is the hardest rocker of the bunch. It maintains a slow pace throughout and has a pop-rock sounding chorus which categorizes it as among the albums slower songs, despite its somewhat heavy guitar sound throughout. Familiar Taste of Poison is the albums most dramatic song, with some of the most heartfelt vocals Lzzy has ever done, which is why the song still remains in the bands setlist.

The second half of the four slower songs shares similarities with each other. I’m Not An Angel and Better Sorry Than Safe are what I like to call “powerful” songs. The main thing that categorizes these songs as such is the fact that if they were any softer, they’d no doubt be ballads, but they are kept at a velocity, so to speak, of hard rock segments mixed with ballad components to make the songs both rather dramatic to the ear; the latter of the two songs being my personal favourite song thus far that the band has ever recorded.

The album has two songs that I feel are in between the hard rock stature of I Get Off and the ballad structure of the four previously mentioned songs. Innocence, the first of these two songs, is a serious, mid-tempo track that never loses its edge while maintaining an easily sing-able chorus. Love/Hate Heartbreak is a hard rocking track at heart, but musically it holds back, giving it a creepy feel.

The album ends with the last true hard rocking song of the album. Nothing To Do With Love is a quintessential track to end an album such as this with. It brings the album in to full circle because anyone who loved the album right from the start will now be reminded why they liked it right from the start with this equally earth shattering track.

Halestorm attained a lot of attention with their second album The Strange Case Of... after its release a bit over a year ago; so much so that there are still “fans” of the band to have never heard more than a few songs off of their debut. It is important to realize that if it wasn’t for this debut album, there would have been no second album, in the sense that the attention that the debut album did attract was what made The Strange Case Of... possible. Any mistakes, and there were definitely not that many, were addressed from the debut and fixed for their second album. A lot of nerves were lifted from the bands shoulders thanks to the reception that the first album did get. The only reason my rating for the album is not higher is because the band behind Lzzy had yet to really find their place on a lot of tracks. While Lzzy’s voice is the definition of excellence throughout, there are songs that the band playing behind her is insignificant and anyone could have taken their spot.


It’s Not You” –­ Surprisingly this is the first time I’ve ever selected an albums opening track to be the highlight. It was an easy choice, though, considering the reception that this song has gained from fans. In the early days of the band, they would open their sets with this song, with Lzzy coming out on stage first and all by herself singing at the top of her lungs the opening words “I’m in love” over and over until every single eye in the crowd was on her. Then when the band would get in to the song, the crowd immediately started moving, jumping, whatever-ing to the song.



9 (Out of 10)


Track List:

"It's Not You"  
"I Get Off"  
"Bet U Wish U Had Me Back"  
"Familiar Taste of Poison"  
"I'm Not an Angel"  
"What Were You Expecting?"  
"Love/Hate Heartbreak"  
"Better Sorry Than Safe"  
"Dirty Work"  
"Nothing to Do with Love"  


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