The American rockers Halestorm are back with their second full length studio album, The Strange Case Of… Halestorm took the world by “storm” with their 2009 self-titled debut. Although many die-hard Metal fans wrote off the album as stale AOR; or as one reviewer quaintly stated the album had “immature lyrics which really belong in teenage pop songs”. Either way, Halestorm continue to forge ahead and try to make a bold name for themselves.
Halestorm gets their namesake from the band founders and siblings, Arejay and Lzzy Hale; respectively drummer and lead singer. They have become very well known for their extensive touring and have shared the stage with some of Metal’s biggest accts, and released a live album in 2010 entitled Live In Philly 2010.
Regarding the musical content on The Strange Case Of…, Halestorm seems to take on a heavier and aggressive approach to this album, opposed to the very safe and pop-oriented debut. The first four tracks on the album are honest and somewhat respectable Hard Rock songs. They all have exciting, upbeat riffs, catchy chorus lines, and Lzzy Hale’s signature high energy vocals. However, the album suddenly takes an immediate turn for the worst with the next two tracks; “Beautiful With You” and “In Your Room”. Both of which sound like retching Taylor Swift-like Pop laden drivel, which was obviously written for a teenage audience. Fortunately, the album does recover with the all acoustic track “Break In”. This is a great melodramatic song, and for the first time Lzzy Hale presents very sincere emotion in her vocals, and shows off her powerful range. The key to this track is that it must be listened to independently for full appreciation. When followed by the previous two train wreck songs, it doesn’t sit very well.
Arguably, one of the best songs on the album is the track “Rock Show”. This may be a bit of a stretch for some listeners as is comes off with a very commercial and simplistic undertone. However, given the outstanding emotional vocal work which builds into a grandiose crescendo piece, it has to be given some respect and admiration.
When comparing this album to their debut, the immature lyrical content is still very prevalent. Although there is some growth musically with a few more intricate themes, it still falls flat as a primarily Pop-Rock album targeting a young audience. Lzzy Hale’s voice is extraordinarily powerful and dynamic and she could easily excel singing a modern Power or Thrash Metal sytle.
Overall, The Strange Case Of… is full of ups and down; which are weighted about evenly. Of the twelve tracks about half are good, and half are worthless. It’s getting to the point where you know what you are going to get with Halestorm, they have molded themselves into something popular and safe. As long as they stay signed to their major record label and build a loyal fan base, it is doubtful that will change any time soon.
Official Band Website