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MUSIC REVIEW: HALESTORM – Vicious

| 1 February 2019 | Reply

Label: Atlantic Records

Release Date: July 27, 2018

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

One of my favorite bands that cranks out disc after disc of great rockers and cool ballads struck again with their latest, when Halestorm dropped Vicious on the world back in July of 2018.  I had to work this disc hard, as it didn’t grab me instantly like their debut or Strange Case… did.  But after a few hundred spins, this one has gained a spot in my music loving heart alongside the rest of their catalog.  “Black Vultures” kicks the collection off and there is no looking back once the guitars, bass, and  drums kick in.  The heavy hands of Arejay Hale behind the drums and Josh Smith on bass keep the bottom end locked in and keep the tempo flowing.  “Skulls” keeps the heavy bottom end intact while giving the guitars from Joe Hottinger and frontwoman Lzzy Hale room to swirl in the mix and provide the perfect accompaniment for Lzzy’s lead vocals.  “Buzz” has a different texture to it that comes off as slightly different from other songs on the disc, but is a great complimenting track to the other songs here.  The vocals are some of Hale’s strongest on the disc.  “Conflicted” is a great song that takes a bit of a left turn from the other songs on this disc, but fits within the parameters of the bands catalog and should go over well in a live setting, if it hits the setlist.  “Heart Of Novocaine” slows the pace of the CD down, but to no detriment to the discs flow.  The vocals on this song are great and blend well with the acoustic guitars.  This is another song that showcases the different sounds and textures of Lzzy’s vocal delivery.  “White Dress” has a different cadence than most of the tracks here, but make no mistake, this song is as strong as any on the disc.  The guitars are cool, vocals are strong, and the rhythm section very tight!

“Uncomfortable” is a cool as hell rocker that drew me in from first listen and is as good now as it was when I first heard it.  The lyrics are fun, the rhythm seemingly chaotic, and the entire production slick.  This is one of my favorite additions to my workout playlist, as the tempo is perfect for a great cardio workout.  “Do Not Disturb” is my personal favorite track of the dozen on the standard release.  It is a perfect storm that combines sexy fun lyrics, a killer groove underneath the mix, sultry vocals, and a playful musical ebb and flow woven through it that helps tie everything together.  While not an aggressive track or overpowering, I dare you to resist the urge to slowly head bang once the groove grabs you.  Be sure to hang out and enjoy the guitar solo at the bridge.  “Killing Ourselves To Live” is another song that delivers a driving rhythm perfect for running or driving along on the freeway in autopilot mode.  Lzzy’s vocals, from her softer signing to the gravel rocker grrl, are spot on and give the song a kick in the ass.  “Painkiller” has some of the best guitar work on the disc and demonstrated how well Hottinger and Hale play together, blending their sound.  The drums are crisp and seem to pop while the bass helps deliver the chorus with a little extra attention to the bottom end.  The title track “Vicious” pops in near the end of the disc and is a killer track to help lead us out of this rock and roll journey Halestorm has taken us on.  The rhythm and cadence are killer and get the head banging, the body moving, and the blood pumping.  The chorus comes along and kicks the door wide open before we are hit with the final song of the disc.  Closer “The Silence” slows things down, but does so with more fun acoustic guitars underneath a beautiful vocal from Lzzy that shows us a softer side that seems to grace every disc in at least one spot.  While the song takes us down a more mellow road, it always seems to guide my hand to the play button so I can restart this 12-song ride…

Tracklisting: Black Vultures – Skulls – Uncomfortable – Buzz – Do Not Disturb – Conflicted – Killing Ourselves To Live – Heart Of Novocaine – Painkiller – White Dress – Vicious – The Silence

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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