The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


ATLANTIC RECORDS | Release Date: April 10 2015


BOOKS & DVD'S 2009-2014 

If you ever wondered how to turn a much loved and lauded Rock band into a Pop band overnight then look no further, after spinning this a dozen times I’m still not convinced I’m actually hearing what I’m hearing. Halestorm once charted high on our ‘Rockometer’ as one of the few new bands of the last ten years to consistently impress with each new release, one of the few bands to be bold enough to stand their ground and quite simply ROCK…

Something is amiss from the off with the rather tepid ‘Scream’ with its rather dreary over-production (the very worst aspect of the album – everything it touches turns to ‘Pop’) and electronica-infusion seemingly both misnamed and cynically aimed at radio. The track that follows ‘I Am the Fire’ may restore your faith to some degree when Lizzy roars out the refrain but again it’s so slick, so safe and so indistinguishable from the rest of the radio-pop-rock morass that oozes all around us these days.

Things don’t get better: there is small hint of Metal on ‘Sick Individual’ but it’s as close as we get and has a sheen that is more Pink-Sabbath than Black Sabbath. And if things weren’t luke-warm enough ‘Amen’ sounds like a song that would have been cast aside by Skillet, Daughtry or Nickelback, take your pick, it also heralds a sort of jaunty Country undertone which is decidedly unpleasant.

From then on there are some decent enough songs but the production by Jay Joyce is so heavy handed there is little to salvage and none of the rawness left that made the band so essential.  Piano ballad ‘Dear Daughter’ is pretty dreary (though a few seconds of wonderful guitar mark the end of the song); and ‘New Modern Love’ uninspiring Pop-Rock.

Thankfully though there is respite (if only brief) with ‘Mayhem’ a song that seems to have slipped through the gaps and one which still has spirit, edge and  attitude – it’s the best here by a mile. Sadly it leads into one of the worst songs here: ‘Bad Girl’s World’ kills the mood like breaking wind in an elevator (and again oddly adds great guitar just as it closes).  

In truth fans will probably see enough in the early eighties stomp ‘Gonna Get Mine’ despite its annoying cleanness of sound and recycled riff; ‘The Reckoning’ might also just have enough pumped into it from Lizzy’s vocal to just avoid being a complete formulaic dud. As for ‘Apocalyptic’ well it just sounds like Pink – the trappings of Rock with the plastic disposable soul of Pop.

 ‘What Sober Couldn’t Say’ reeks so much of a ‘Countrified’ wash over eighties big Pop ballad  that it makes you wonder if those concepts were ever proposed at a sit down brain storming session – ‘Hey why don’t we do a…’ That leaves us with ‘I Like it Heavy’ another Country-tinged song, but this time a ‘Party Rocker’ you know like ‘Footloose’ or ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’,  in truth it’s not bad, but by the end you are so cynical that even the ending sounds like it was planned on a spreadsheet…

If their first album was their Rock release, their second their Metal release then this is the murky world of Pop at times tinged with modern Country…

Now don’t get me wrong it’s not as if the band has started writing bad material overnight, or Hale’s voice has diminished in any way; it’s just that their sound is suddenly so homogenized, where you once had a band with a sound so raw and essential it felt like it was being cut off the bone, it now it just sounds like it’s being squeezed from a tube. Somewhere in there the songs lurk the real Halestorm but they are smothered in so many preservatives and e-numbers you’d have to be a chemist to find them. The scariest thing is that if this shifts a couple more downloads to impressionable teenage girls tomorrow Halestorm might just sound like Miley/Pink/Taylor – you choose… Cynical? Contrived? Maybe…



by Mark Rockpit


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