Album Review: Halestorm – The Strange Case Of…

Swagger. Halestorm has it by the bucketload. The intro to opening track ‘Love Bites (And So Do I)’ has a riff so filthy it makes Guns N Roses look like a bunch of choir boys.

Halestorm deal with, and excel in, larger than life rock anthems. The kind you associate with American rock radio, and stadiums, and drunken feel good nights. It’s for this reason they sat comfortably alongside Shinedown on their recent UK tour with a longer-than-average support slot.

On ‘The Strange Case Of…’, their second full-length album, they’ve honed that sound into an artform. ‘Mz Hyde’ commands you to bang your head and raise your fists, while ‘I Miss The Misery’ has “woah ohs” all prepped and ready for stadiums to holler along with lead vocalist Lizzy Hale. The lyrics are debauched and filthy, filled with intoxicated memories and sexual shenanigans- just like all the memorable rock ‘n’ roll songs in the world.

The album is delivered similarly to a live performance, with a quiet middle section to break out those lighters and grab a mate while you hold your pint in the air. ‘BeautHalestorm The Strange Case Of Artworkiful With You’ is a power ballad that the 80s would be proud of, while following track ‘In Your Room’ is stripped enough to sit alongside the likes of Christina Perri in the Billboard chart. Rather than be detrimental to the band’s credibility, it shows their diversity. Anyone can write a riff, but it takes talent and courage to slow it down and throw in an emotional ballad or two amongst the in-your-face tracks on offer elsewhere on the album.

After the piano-led ‘Break In’, it’s back to business with the aptly named ‘Rock Show’ with its handclap passages and larger than life chorus, made perfect by Lizzy’s increasingly aggressive delivery. Its an explosive song, ending with a hail of drumfire, which unfortunately sets the standard too high for following track ‘Daughters of Darkness’ to compete with.

‘You Call Me a Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing’ allows Lizzy to deliver a storming empowering message, full of that Halestorm swagger. She is integral to the success of Halestorm, and her intimidating delivery should be seen as a success for females in the music industry. Instead of pop ballads involving abusive relationships, Lizzy and the band allow females to stand up and show off that swagger in a positive, assertive, dominating way.

The album ends the only way it can, with a celebration of, well, everything. ‘Here’s To Us’ is a feel good anthem, showing that all the debauchery that preceded it can never knock down a bunch of friends who see life as one great big good time.

And that, at its core, is what Halestorm is. A rock ‘n’ roll band with tunes to soundtrack a good time. Get the drinks in, raise those horns high, and sing along with everyone in the room. Here’s to Halestorm.

Rating – 7


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.


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