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’

CD Scavenger Hunt – 7/21/09

Just a quick update to let you all know what I’ve picked up the last couple of weeks online and in store…..

halestorm - selftitled (2009)Halestorm – s/t (2009) – $9.99: I know absolutely nothing about Halestorm but they seem to be everywhere! I’m not above trying out something new so I’m hoping that the medieval looking cover art is a prediction of some good Hard Rock or Heavy Metal inside. I would feel better if the band was on an independent label, they are signed to Atlantic Records and a lot of new bands on major labels are copycats designed to make quick money. I hope this CD is good, if not, the sale price wasn’t too bad.

Lillian Axe - Sad Day On Planet Earth (2009)Lillian Axe – Sad Day On Planet Earth (2009) – $15: A couple of weeks ago when this album was released, I went to the record store with it at the top of my list. Unfortubately, the store only stocked ONE copy of the album and I have been waiting ever since. I saw this lone copy mixed in with the Lizzy Borden CDs so I grabbed it right away. Maybe someone “hid” it and they were coming back? I do that all the time! Today I made sure that a couple of Tankard albums were under “T” instead or “Tankard”!

Music Review Cheap TrickCheap Trick – The Latest (2009) – $14: Cheap Trick is one of those classic bands that I always forget about and then, when I hear some songs on the radio, I remember to pick up some of their CDs. On the way to the record store today I heard ‘Dream Police’ and I quickly added THE LATEST to my mental list of CDs to buy. I probably should have picked up a copy a month ago when the band opened for Def Leppard & Poison but it was $20 at the merchandise booth. Cheap Trick is definitely an underrated band.

Stryper - Murder By Pride (2009)Stryper – Murder By Pride (2009) – $9.99: Stryper’s new record came out today and I wasn’t missing the special sale price. The band’s last record, REBORN (2005), wasn’t the best Stryper album but I always support the bands I liked in the ’80s so I’m willing to give this one a fair listen. The sale price was a good deal and the guy at the counter told me that this album was better than REBORN…..bigger riffs and more solos and more old school than modern.

global_metal1Global Metal DVD (2009) – $24: I had no idea that GLOBAL METAL was getting a U.S. release today! I have been after this DVD since it was released everywhere else in the world late last year so this is a great surprise and well worth the regular price. If you’ve seen Sam Dunn’s other films (FLIGHT 666 and METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY) then you know that this will be a top notch DVD set. Remember those two Tankard albums I said I hid? I hid them because I bought this in their place and I want to pick them up over the weekend.

mrcd5Melodicrock.com – Vol. 5: Writing On The Wall (2009) – $23: I have been reading Melodicrock.com daily since 1998 so I support the website any way I can. I have bought the other four volumes through the pre-order and this one was no exception…..the price included shipping from Australia for the 2 CD set and there is also a CD worth of extra downloads for pre-orders only. Not a bad deal! There are always a lot of exclusive tracks by a lot of different bands and there are always some new bands included…..I always find a new band through these compilations.

7th Stranger - Push Harder7th Stranger – Push Harder (1992) – $6.25: Another band that I haven’t got a clue about! I have been seeing this CD pop up on Ebay a lot lately so I started watching the auctions and doing research on the band. The only thing I really know is that 7th Stranger are from Seattle and that they start the album with a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’. I figured I could get the CD cheap on Ebay and I was right…..add me to the dozen or so list of people who bought this on Ebay in the last month.

Railway - Climax (1987)Railway – Climax (1987/1997 reissue) – $18: Back in 1997, High Vaultage Records from Germany started to produce some great reissues full of bonus tracks, pictures and extended liner notes. The releases they put out are now out of print and getting harder to find at decent prices. Railway’s first three records were reissued on High Vaultage and they are high on my want list. I saw this copy on Ebay from a seller I’ve bought from in the past and this was the last copy they had. Other retailers were charging $25 + shipping so I used BUY IT NOW and made sure I got a fair price. Now I need the first two reissues.