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Halestorm – The Strange Case Of… – Album Review

Halestorm – The Strange Case Of… – Album Review
Website: http://www.halestormrocks.com/
Fans Of: Evanescence, Shinedown, Marya Roxx
Label: Roadrunner Records
Download This: Love Bites (So Do I), Here's To Us
Genre(s): Rock
Release Date: 09/04/12

The Strange Case Of… is the second album from US hard rock band Halestorm, who teased us earlier this year with EP release Hello Its Mz Hyde. Despite the fact that the band are playing around with their musical style a fair bit the album manages to be both cohesive and enjoyable to listen to, due in large part to a strong lead vocalist and excellent instrumentalists.

The album kicks off with ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ which was also the first single. I still absolutely love this song which manages to fuse a beautifully heavy rock sound with a different take on the whole “female singer moaning about love” meme. From there we leap straight into ‘Mz Hyde’ which cuts between melodic verses and a much heavier chorus, dominated by insistent drumbeats and grinding guitars. ‘I Miss The Misery’ takes things down a notch, opening as almost a ballad before the chorus kicks in and you realise that this is not a love song – this is about recovering from an abusive relationship and that thin line between love, hate, passion and abuse. ‘Freak Like Me’ is a grimy rock song with heavy guitars and urgent drumbeats, combined nicely with growling vocals to create an anthemic rock sound which plays well on a song about being different.

The album takes a completely different turn on ‘Beautiful with You’ which couldn’t be more different from ‘Freak Like Me’ in style, an almost-pop ballad about being loved for who you are. This is followed by ‘In Your Room’ – another softer, more melodic song about understanding and acceptance. Both these songs rely very heavily on vocals and melodic guitars with the powerful drumming of the early part of the album barely making an appearance. ‘Break In’ is a genuine ballad with its soaring vocals accompanied almost entirely by piano which, although not being entirely my cup of tea, really showcases Lzzy Hale’s vocal range. It’s also quite a brave trio of songs to include on the album of a rock band who are capable of being pretty heavy.

With ‘Rock Show’, we see another change in sounds, returning somewhat to the heavier sound of the first four tracks. I still think that this song lacks originality and, for a song about loving rock music, lacks both power and passion. The same can not be said about ‘Daughters of Darkness’ which has both qualities in bucketloads with snarly, anthemic lyrics, complemented once again by a strong percussion performance. ‘You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing’ is all about the angry vocals and wailing guitar solos, delivering a verbal slap in the face to pathetic schoolboys everywhere. ‘American Boys’ has a bit of a country rock sound which doesn’t completely fit with the rest of the album and is, to be honest, somewhat forgettable. Closing track ‘Here’s To Us’ will be the band’s next UK single, which seems a somewhat surprising follow up to ‘Love Bites’, but is probably the best of Halestorm’s “lighter” songs. It retains some of their rockier trademarks – growly vocals and a strong percussion performance – but in a song which is much more reminiscent of a country-crossover ballad.

Whilst The Strange Case Of… is not a ground-breaking album it is a very good one. Halestorm clearly know their stuff in terms of musical performance and lyrically their songs are powerful without being clichéd. When I reviewed their EP earlier this year I recommended waiting for the album – anyone who did won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing

1.Love Bites (So Do I)
2.Mz Hyde
3.I Miss The Misery
4.Freak Like Me
5.Beautiful With You
6.In Your Room
7.Break In
8.Rock Show
9.Daughters Of Darkness
10.You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing
11.American Boys
12.Here’s To Us

The album is available in Standard or Deluxe Editions from HERE