Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Sep 28th, 2018

Halestorm: Vicious

(Atlantic Records)

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A spacey descending splash into screaming begins “Black Vultures,” the opener of Halestorm’s new, Vicious. Lzzy Hale screams are perfect from the outset of this intro track, with its obvious hard rock single potential, overdriven electric guitar lines, and sing-able chorus.

The tribal beat Lzzy’s brother Arejay lays down on “Buzz,” changes things up slightly, and Lizzy sounds softer even if the lyrics aren’t exactly soft. Her use of talk-box adds to a great tune.

The plodding Sabbath-like “Do Not Disturb,” leaves bassist Josh Smith some sonic room while Lizzy spins a naughty come on. It’s a quick little woman-is-horny-and-gonna-do-something-about-it single. I like how Lzzy channels her best Pat Benatar on the backing vocals here. We also get the first real slice of what Joe Hottinger can manage on lead guitar.

“Conflicted,” has some cool, spikey, electric moments over a softer strummed guitar with Lzzy sounding quite coquettish. Even though it’s another pop rock stab (not a terrible thing in and of itself), the band lays back when they should. Even when things get heavy, it’s for limited exposure.

“Heart of Novocaine,” sees Lzzy taking a stab at rock ballad singing. Hottinger’s muted guitar lead here is super cool.

The title track is a straight-ahead chunky, roiling rocker, probably what this band does best, Lzzy holding back nasty and coiled in the verses until she breaks out during a truly poppy chorus. Good stuff, once again, and the acoustic “The Silence,” a pretty story love song, finally (thankfully) shows off Lzzy’s pipes without her having to scream (too much). It’s a great way to end this band’s rather solid fourth album.

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Halestorm: Vicious