Halestorm: The Strange Case Of…

This is the sophomore release for Pennsylvania’s own female-fronted hard rock group Halestorm.

This album is a strange case indeed. A strange case of “split persona syndrome” , “radio metal syndrome” , and “female fronted syndrome”. This should be a fun review. Let me first start though by saying that I did quite enjoy the first album…until it was shoved down our throats, which we’ll discuss later.

The first problem I found with this record is that it was inconsistent. It wasn’t as inconsistent on the last record, but it got worse this time away. The album kicks off with “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “Mz Hyde”, “I Miss the Misery”, “Freak Like Me”, which are all big and stomping tunes in which singer Lizzy Hale releases her wild side in order to say “Fuck You” or “I’m a bitch and I’m proud”.  Then the next three songs are piano driven ballads in which she tries to tell us “I’m not a bitch” and “I want to wait by your window like a romance movie”. Then the next few songs have her singing “I love it when you call me a bitch”. The final song “Here’s to Us” sounds like a modern-day country-radio drinking ballad!! Where’s the consistency?! The problem when you do something like that is you become inconsistent and therefore unbelievable. If you chant “Fuck Off” in the beginning of the album, then you better be chanting the same thing at the end of the album. Now i understand you don’t have to do that in order to be believable, but i think you get my drift. You can’t say one thing and then change your mind in the middle of the album just because no ones pays as much attention in the middle of albums.

She’s trying to achieve that split-personality trait that, if done properly, automatically takes your singing, your credibility and your musicality to new heights. However, it is extremely hard to achieve such no matter what type of music you play. The only bands I know of that were able to do so were the hair metal bands of  the 80s. However, the 80s bands weren’t good musicians to begin so they only got more popular as opposed to more musical respect, so that might not be the best example. I would argue though that famous singers like Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, and Daultry have achieved this to some extent. I would even argue that Lady Gaga has pulled that off quite well.

The next major problem that I have with this is much more opinion based. To me, Halestorm are nothing more than a more mainstream, radio friendly Evanecense. We’ll talk more about Amy Lee and Evanecense in the next major bullet point, but the thing I don’t like about Halestorm is that they’re just a heavy band made for radio success. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For some bands, that’s all they want to be and that’s all they’ll ever be. What bothers me is when you have a band like this that tried to be WAYYY more heavy metal on this record…it almost makes me ashamed to like metal music. Listen to the first track and you’ll get what I mean. To the band’s credit, the guitar player can really shred and has a lot of great moments  and solos on this album.

The third major problem is a problem that a lot of female fronted bands face in modern music…they all sound like Amy Lee! With the success of Evanecense and the boundaries that Amy broke as a female singer have really opened the floodgates for a more feminine presence in “radio metal” (I say radio metal because girls have been influential in metal since the 80s, but Amy Lee made females much more mainstream in heavy music and so these bands got placed with the “radio metal” or “wrestle metal” bands). In the wake of this success and the short-lived career of Evanecense at the top, everyone was looking for bands to fill in that space and keep a special spot for women. Halestorm is just another band trying to achieve that same success. What I can applaud them for is that they are trying to do it their own way. They’re not following that goth rock element that Evanecense brought. Once you get to the piano ballads on this album though, it becomes obvious though that Hale is trying to be Amy Lee. Even Amy’s former Evanecense band mates created a new band to try and get away from that label. You might have heard of them. They’re called We Are the Fallen and it’s all the old members of Evanecense, but with American Idol contestant Carly Smithson on lead vocals (She was the hot Irish girl who was on the same year as Chris Daughtry). Guess what though…they sound JUST LIKE EVANECENSE!!!!!!!

The whole point of all this is not to tear Halestorm to pieces, but to make some of you aware that there are only a few really good female fronted bands worth listening to. I prefer to listen to Hightwish (w/ Tarja), Evanecense, sometime Within Temptation, The Agonist, Iwrestledabearonce, and Amaranthe. These bands aren’t for everyone and I get that, but i like these bands because they are all completely different from each other and everyone else. And you know what, there are some people who will absolutely love this new Halestorm album. If you enjoyed the first album, then there’s no reason that you shouldn’t like this one. There’s a lot more anger and aggression as well as more piano ballads and softer sides.

I personally just didn’t like this album and I’m not a huge fan so if you really really like this band, you don’t have to listen to me on this account, however, I hope that you can recognize the inconsistency and illegitimacy of this band.

Anywho, that’s enough from me today. Have a nice day.

Luke Helker

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