Halestorm – s/t (2009)

halestorm - selftitled (2009)

Halestorm – s/t (2009, Atlantic Records)

  1. It’s Not You
  2. I Get Off
  3. Bet U Wish U Had Me Back
  4. Innocence
  5. Familiar Taste Of Poison
  6. I’m Not An Angel
  7. What Were You Expecting?
  8. Love/Hate Heartbreak
  9. Better Sorry Than Safe
  10. Dirty Work
  11. Nothing To Do With Love

Band Lineup:
Lzzy Hale – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Joe Hottinger – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Josh Smith – Bass, Backing Vocals
Arejay Hale – Drums & Percussion

Producer: Howard Benson

Country: USA

Total Time = 35:02

Halestorm MySpace page

I do a lot of research before I buy a CD from a new band, especially one that is getting a ton of radio airplay and is on a major label. I never listen to the radio so it was by chance that I heard Halestorm’s first single ‘I Get Off’…..a decent Hard Rock song. The music was modern Hard Rock sung by a woman with a pretty good voice and the song had attitude. Then I saw the album cover…..it looked kind of sci-fi and/or medieval so I figured that the album had to at least be Hard Rock, maybe a touch of Metal. I picked it up for $9.99 and took a chance.

The Halestorm sound is focused on lead singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale (no “I”). Her voice is strong and melodic, I would put her somewhere around Julie Westlake from Hydrogyn and Veronica Freeman from Benedictum. Lzzy Hale has a solid voice for the hard rocking songs and she sings very beautifully on the ballads, maybe she’s a hard version of Kelly Clarkson (my daughter came up with that!)? Hale has talent but the music sounds like Rock radio favorites Puddle Of Mudd and Nickelback and I think those two bands suck!

Taking Halestorm for what they are…..they have some good songs. Opening track ‘It’s Not You’ is good Hard Rock in the same direction as ‘I Get Off’. ‘Bet U Wish U Had Me Back’ is a nice mid-tempo Rock tune that reminds me of Kelly Clarkson as the chorus hits. The song has a nice hook to it and it does get you singing along, perfect for mainstream radio. More uptempo modern melodic Hard Rock with ‘Innocence’, another song that follows the same direction as the two openers. The first proper ballad comes with the haunting ‘Familiar Taste Of Poison’ and Lzzy Hale shows off her strong voice but then another ballad comes through with ‘I’m Not An Angel’. I’m not sure about the sequencing of the album here, I would split up two ballads and not have them back to back like this.

The return to the modern Hard Rock is signalled by ‘What Were You Expecting?’ I’ll tell you what I was expecting…..a bit of diversity. By this point the uptempo songs are sounding very similar and the ballads sound the same too. ‘Love/Hate Heartbreak’ is ballad #3 and it’s paired off with the mid-tempo ‘Better Sorry Than Safe’. ‘Dirty Work’ has some energy, some fire but it sounds like it’s been done before. Same thing with ‘Nothing To Do With Love’, it sounds like everything else. It’s obvious that the focus is Hale and the songwriting could be better. How many angst riddled “scorned woman” songs do we need?

Bottom Line:
I took a chance and didn’t get much from it. The album is neither good or bad, the band is neither good or bad. What I hear is a few standout songs in the beginning and a lot of the same ideas as the album progresses. There is potential and, if one of the ballads hits the airwaves, then Halestorm is going to hit the big time! There is no Metal here, there is Hard Rock but it’s more modern Hard Rock than the classic stuff. I’ll call this an average release because there’s nothing there to drive me away but there also isn’t anything to keep me listening. Keep an eye on Halestorm, the right single at the right time could blow this band to the big-time.

Favorite Songs:
‘It’s Not You’, ‘I Get Off’, ‘Bet You Wish You Had Me Back’