February 2, 2016 Lacey Sturm – Life Screams (Album Review)
Rock fans know the name Lacey Nicole Sturm as singer of the platinum-selling Hard Rock band Flyleaf. Beginning to front the band in the year 2002, within a few years Flyleaf was on their way to the top, and in 2005 released their self-titled debut album. Attaining platinum-selling status with the record, the band would continue their growth over three more chart-topping records through 2012’s New Horizons. Then, just a week prior to New Horizons’ release, Sturm shocked fans and stepped down as lead vocalist of Flyleaf. Struck by the tragic loss of Sound Engineer Rich Caldwell, Sturm decided it was time to reevaluate life and devote herself to her husband and children.
Further finding tranquility within herself and in the world, Sturm released her book, The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living, in September of 2014, and just a month later, announced she would be returning to music once more. Following the four years, the singer is back in a formidable way with releasing her debut solo album, Life Screams, out on February 12th via Followspot Records. Musically, Sturm’s first LP is the knotting on her vision, which started back in 2005 with the chart-breaking and self-titled Flyleaf firstborn. Kicking off the new solo-band, Sturm’s motivation was to show and scream out the light on the end of the tunnel in spite of all hopelessness and rage on this planet that engrossed the music universe and to save music lovers from going to hell subsequently.
Working with her husband and guitarist Josh Sturm, Skillet-keytarist Korey Cooper, and ex-Evanescence keyboardist David Hodges, Sturm created eleven modern Rock tracks that have what it takes to follow the past success with her former band. The album opening track and first single, “Impossible” already buzzed over the ether of the national radio stations and climbed the iTunes Rock song charts on position #2 straight after its release. This track, as well as the directly following one, “The Soldier,” show the etiquette of Life Screams on the first listen, which is interlarded with nothing but awesome hits as if Sturm never took an exit from the spotlight.
Proving that they did not unleash everything they had on the opening two tracks, including the heavy “I’m Not Laughing,” it is on “Vanity” Sturm turns it up with a compelling dialog-intro. Thereafter, she keeps the excitement high with the hellish, groovy “Rot,” a song which shows both sides of the creative coin of Life Screams. It is here Sturm’s vocal performance ranges from desperate, pained and fragile while it is paired with big melodies in the chorus. Then there is “You’re Not Alone,” which is reminiscent of early era Evanescence and earns Strum a high grade for a perfect Rock song with a lot of drama. The goosebumps increase with the song “Feels Like Forever,” which begins with a Shirley Manson meets Maria Brink vocal intro. Here, Sturm’s performance is top notch, much like the rest of the record, but the emotion will certainly overwhelm the listener at this point if other moments did not get them.
Moving along, the title-track, “Life Screams,” showcases timely Rock music while being carried by a strong piano-hook line along with effective and well-dosed electronics. In contrast, “Faith” shows another face of Sturm’s artistic vision with a big breeze of Pop projecting a sound similar to that of Dutch singer-songwriter Anouk. An interesting selection to put on the album, Sturm then manages to breathe a second and unique life into a live cover version of the Police hit song “Roxanne.” Finally, crowning Life Screams is the ballad “Run To You,” providing a finishing touch to the balance of the album’s happiness and sadness.
With Life Screams, Lacey Sturm celebrates an unexpected comeback. The songs on her solo debut should take the hearts and attention of old and new fans by storm. The crystal clear, powerful production illuminates eleven tracks that show how talented Sturm is. Now the hope that four more years will not elapse again for new material from Sturm. In enough words, the spectrum of Life Screams covers the whole range of Rock music in an impressive way. CrypticRock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.