July 23, 2018 Halestorm – Vicious (Album Review)
A shock-wave of incandescent, bare bones, red-blooded Rock-n-Roll grit, Halestorm – the incomparable vocals of Lzzy Hale, the percussive talents of Lzzy’s brother, Drummer Arejay Hale, alongside cutthroat Guitarist Joe Hottinger, and the concrete foundation of Bassist Josh Smith – return on the hot new album Vicious, set to drop on Friday, July 27, 2018, thanks to the legendary Atlantic Records.
Recorded over the course of 2017, Halestorm conceived Vicious at Rock Falcon Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, working alongside acclaimed Producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Ghost). Delving back into the band’s original breed, the Grammy Award winning Halestorm bring a power-packed collection of Hard Rock luxury, returning to the roots of their 2009 debut, Halestorm.
Arriving as Halestorm’s fourth collection of original songs, Vicious sees this Hard Rock crew releasing new music for the first time since 2015’s Into the Wild Life. A memorable run, Into the Wild Life peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, the band’s highest-charting record to date. Following this momentous achievement, Halestorm released 2017’s Reanimate 3.0: The Covers EP . Exceptionally good at the task, Halestorm love doing covers, so the band paid tribute to everything from Sophie B. Hawkins’ 1992 hit, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” to Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days,” sadly just months prior to the tragic passing of Chris Cornell.
On Vicious, Halestorm continue to bleed an undying embodiment of music’s greatest power. Kick-started by a brazen scream from Lzzy on “Black Vultures,” Vicious attacks in venomous fashion bringing to life these scavenger birds of prey and the band’s will to fight (“I don’t give in! I don’t give up!”). Just getting started, the confident thud of “Skulls” drives into the album’s first single, “Uncomfortable.” Here, Lzzy proclaims she is free to reign as she pleases and does not mind provoking a little misery along the way. Even more to enjoy, a video for the track was released back in May, directed by Evan Brace (Taking Back Sunday). A feeling we just cannot do without, “Buzz” precedes perhaps Halestorm’s most suggestive cut ever, the sexually-charged yet classy innuendo of “Do Not Disturb.”
Wishing for a stimulant, “Conflicted” muses before the tenacious “Killing Ourselves To Live” harbors over the ironic idea of doing bad things to live forever, followed by the numbing ballad “Heart of Novocaine.” Next on the playlist, an antidote, the clatter of “Painkiller” soars into a delusional state. Then, the fictional purity on “White Dress” exposes the carnal truth of skeletons hidden in the closet but with a resolve to turn it all around. A beastly title track, “Vicious” systematically forges together all the unrestrained, pent-up aggression Halestorm was surely going for when the band wrote this album. Ceremoniously closing out Halestorm’s latest offering, “The Silence” is a tender, well-written ballad, finding Lzzy’s gallant pipes reminiscing the past and promising to keep someone’s memory protected in her heart.
Overflowing energy and emotion, Halestorm’s Vicious focuses on bold, vitalizing music and the beautifully frightening, breathtaking vocals of Lzzy Hale. Returning to a harder, more compact sonic environment, on Vicious, Halestorm have taken the roots of past creativity and used them to grow even further into the craft of writing deep, profound, and defiant music to push the boundaries of Rock. Halestorm has easily become one of those bands from whom it is always a pleasure to hear new music, and Vicious is no exception. A breath of fresh air, Halestorm’s fanbase will be ecstatic to check out this new release that can only be described in one word, Vicious. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Vicious 4.5 out of 5 stars.