Halestorm - The Strange Case Of...
10 April 2012

01. Love Bites (So Do I)
02. Mz. Hyde
03. I Miss The Misery
04. Freak Like Me
05. Beautiful With You
06. In Your Room
07. Break In
08. Rock Show
09. Daughters Of Darkness
10. You Call Me A Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing
11. American Boys
12. Here's To Us
13. Don't Know How To Stop [Deluxe edition bonus]
14. Private Parts [feat. James Michael] [Deluxe edition bonus]
15. Hate It When You See Me Cry [Deluxe edition bonus]

Halestorm is, as the name of their sophomore album suggests, a strange case. On the one hand, they have demonstrated with singles like "It's Not You" and their raucous, thrashy cover of Skid Row's "Slave To The Grind" that they are more than capable of cranking out an exceptional mélange of respectable hard rock and heavy metal when so inclined. On the other, there is a very distinct element of radio-oriented streamlining and blatant commercialism that restricts their potential. At this stage in their career, I still consider Halestorm a guilty pleasure, and I really do not want this circumstance to persist.

While Halestorm's self-titled debut was a couple of worthy songs surrounded by generic pop ballads penned by producers and sound engineers, The Strange Case Of… sees Lzzy Hale getting lead songwriting credit on every track, and the difference is palpable. Some of these songs are still the sort of pedestrian, uninspired, three-minute, "anthem-style" cuts that conjure up images of a female-fronted Nickelback. "Beautiful With You" and "In Your Room" could have been performed by Taylor Swift or Katy Perry or whomever the kids like these days. About a third of this album sounds a few steps short of genuine.

However, the album opens very strongly, and "Love Bites (So Do I)," "Mz. Hyde," and "Daughters of Darkness" give us a glimpse into what Halestorm can accomplish. Even "Here's To Us," one of the obviously mainstream tracks, is worth the listen. With any luck, by their third album, Lzzy Hale will have completely taken over the songwriting process and continued to take the band in a darker, heavier direction. Lzzy's voice has the power and range of a true metal singer, and is clearly being held back by some mediocre material.

At their worst, Halestorm are just another pop/rock band with shades of Avril Lavigne and Orianthi. At their best, they are a fantastic hybrid of Airbourne, Joan Jett, and Alice Cooper, edging towards Znöwhite. Perhaps the best thing for them would be to foster their metal side rather than focusing on the hard rock aspects. It is on their heaviest tracks that Halestorm really shine; they are obviously wired to be a metal band, but so far have only met with mixed results. Overall, The Strange Case Of… is a very great improvement on Halestorm, and a pretty enjoyable album. Hopefully, it is a sign of even better things to come.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Band profile: Halestorm
Album: The Strange Case Of...


written by ScreamingSteelUS | 23.11.2012

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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