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Halestorm - Vicious

by David Nowels at 12 August 2018, 10:01 PM

HALESTORM’S fourth album “Vicious” was released on Atlantic Records on July 27th. Other than hearing a few songs here and there over the years, this was my first real experience listening to HALESTORM.

The album opens impressively with “Black Vultures”. This is obviously music targeted more as Pop Metal, or perhaps AOR. The obvious intention is for songs that will cater to a wider audience. “Black Vultures” definitely hits on that objective. It’s catchy, and pretty instantly likeable, and even at times heavier than I expected. “Skulls” is up next, and opens with a rap like rhyme chant I could initially live without. But then, the verses kick in and the song takes off. The rap/chant returns, but again, the song is more likeable than I thought it would be.

“Uncomfortable” drops the first “F” bombs, and it’s the heaviest song yet. Perfect for making me question that Pop Metal label I gave them earlier. Yet, despite the “F” bombs, it’s still what it is. “Buzz” follows, and there’s a definite similarity in the structure to the songs so far. They’re good, I enjoy them, but they lack any real significance or memorability. The kind of songs that if you stumbled upon them while trying to avoid a commercial on the radio, you’d stop for them. Next up might be the most sexual and provocative song I’ve heard in quite a while. Seriously, “Do Not Disturb” would have made PRINCE blush. With lyrics like, “I love your accent, I wonder what it’ll sound like when you cum”, and “bring your girlfriend too, two is better than one, three is better than two”. It’s actually a good song, unless you’re bothered by the lyrics. I thought they were quite entertaining, and it’s great that Lzzy went there. Guys in metal have used lyrics like this and worse for years. Nikki Sixx anyone?  Best part of the song, is that Lzzy finally unleashes a good guitar solo. I found this the most surprising aspect of the album so far. I’ve heard here there and everywhere about Lzzy’s guitar playing. So, it was really surprising that it’s basically non-existent on the album. Vocally, she’s spectacular. I really, really like what she brings vocally, and musically the band is tight.

The next song that really got my attention was “Killing Ourselves To Live”. The chorus seems very familiar, like I’ve heard something very similar in another song, but I just can’t place it. Regardless, It’s probably my favorite track. “Heart of Nonvocaine” is more of an acoustic track, and is another winner.  Great feel, great vocals.

The album continues with “Painkiller”, which I would probably skip on subsequent listens. It just did nothing for me. “White Dress” continues the theme of empowered women initiated by “Uncomfortable” and “Do Not Disturb”. Lyrically, these are impressive for their directness and strength. Truthfully, songs like this have been long absent in Metal. Lita Ford and Joan Jett should be honored and proud. Their influence is definitely felt in these songs. Closing out the album is the title track, “Vicious” which is a perfect AOR cut, and “The Silence”. The latter, another acoustic ballad that fits perfect as the album’s finale.

Overall, I enjoyed the album. I’m glad I gave it a chance. I only wish more of Lzzy’s and Joe Storm’s guitar had been present. I’m still a bit confused by it’s obvious absence.

Songwriting:   7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Black Vultures
2. Skulls
3. Uncomfortable
4. Buzz
5. Do Not Disturb
6. Conflicted
7. Killing Ourselves To Live
8. Heart of Novocaine
9. Painkiller
10. White Dress
11. Vicious
12. The Silence
Lzzy Hale – Vocals / Guitar
Joe Storm – Guitar / Vocals
Josh Storm – Bass / Vocals
Arejay Hale– Drums
Record Label: Atlantic Records


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