My first article for Mayhem Rockstar Magazine and it turns out to be Halestorm… no pressure right? And it’s not like this band needs any real introduction either. They’re a powerhouse band in the rock music industry and I don’t know many people who don’t already know their band, considering they’ve been around for twenty years. Not kidding…. something I didn’t know was that Lzzy and Arejay started this band when Lzzy was 13 and Arejay was 10, and their first show was at a county fair.
They released their latest album, Vicious, just a few weeks ago on July 27, 2018, although they started with a few releases in May, June, and July of this year.
Black Vultures was the second single to be released off the album back in June and the music video was released on July 2nd. This song is a great ballad about not giving up no matter what. It’s about strength, being a fighter, and picking up the pieces. It’s a powerful song. Lzzy’s signature vocals definitely take center stage in this song, kind of reminding me of their songs “I Am The Fire”, “I Miss the Misery”, and “Mz. Hyde” from previous records.
Skulls is the second song off the new album. It starts immediately with Lzzy’s vocals and a fast-paced rhythm that makes you want to rock along with the song. To me, this song is just talking about not being like everyone else. I also feel (and I could be wrong here) that this song is about society right now. “a billion empty skulls, dumb and out for blood, forget about the love, just a billion empty skulls. Damn, drawn another line, blame the other side, make up another lie, if you can’t see eye to eye” She doesn’t want to be “just another empty skull”. She wants to stand on her own and think for herself.
Uncomfortable was the first single released off of this album back in May of 2018. It starts off with a fast-paced beat dominated by Arejay and I love the tempo. This song is literally just about making people uncomfortable and doing things you want to do despite making people uncomfortable. “I did it all to shake every single one of your emotions… and just to make you uncomfortable. I love to make you uncomfortable” The music video was released on May 30th of this year and is definitely an interesting watch.
Buzz is the next song on the album and it starts off with a nice guitar riff before Lzzy starts singing. I’ll be honest that this song doesn’t really stand out to me, but that’s just my opinion. It might be someone else’s favorite song, and that’s now a bad thing. That’s the beauty of music, some people like it, some people hate it, but you will RARELY like an entire album. Musically, I like the melody of the song. I just think the meaning of the lyrics goes right over my head.
Do Not Disturb is the next song on this album, and was released as a single in July 2018, right before the album was released worldwide. It is definitely a sex song but it’s not off-putting. It has a catchy beat and it’s not trashy in the least bit. I can almost guarantee that I will be singing the chorus to this song for a few days at least after listening to the album to write this review. My husband started listening to this album this past week while he was in the field and I think I can officially say it’s one of his favorite songs from this album.
Conflicted is an interesting song, but one that I’m sure people can relate to everywhere. To me, it’s just about being conflicted about someone but also not being able to stay away from them, as if they are an addiction to you. Have you ever had someone like that before? The song starts out a little slow in the beginning but picks up the tempo a little bit around the chorus. It’s still not as hard or fast-paced as the other songs on this album. She keeps going back to this person but says that she’ll “quit” them for the millionth time.
Killing Ourselves to Live is another song that makes you want to rock along with it as soon as it starts with its awesome guitar melody. I can’t figure out the exact meaning, although I feel like it should be quite obvious to me. This song has some killer guitar rifts in it to catch your attention in between sections of vocals. Maybe it’s about the adventure of life and doing the crazy things you want to do, “…killing ourselves to live, we just need one more hit, and we just might live forever, oh here we are going down with the ship…”
Heart of Novocaine is the first acoustic song on the album and is beautifully done. It’s a tribute to all the people that hurt you or said you couldn’t do something. I can really relate to this song because there were a LOT of people that told me I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that and it was my motivation to actually prove them wrong. Lzzy’s voice doesn’t have that hard, gravelly edge to it that it usually does in her power ballads, but I really love this song. It’s probably my favorite on the album.
Painkiller is another song that kinda goes with Conflicted, how you can get sort of addicted to someone because they take away your pain and distract you for a while. The melody of this song is catchy but not too punchy. It flows really well and I love how strong Lzzy comes into the chorus in the beginning. Honestly, I just really love her voice. I can’t get as low as she can in my singing, but she definitely inspires me to try!
White Dress is another song I really like. Lzzy talks about how she doesn’t fit into someone’s idea of what she should be like. She talks about how she tried to be that person but realized that she couldn’t be and she was accepting who she was instead. She said that she would still make that person proud, even though she wasn’t who that person wanted her to be. Her gravely voice mixes with lighter pitches in her backing vocals and I like the mix.
Vicious is obviously the title track of this album and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Although I don’t know if any of the songs on this album could disappoint. This song has a more prominent mix of the main vocals as well as the backing vocals as sort of an echo in some parts and it’s an interesting blend. The personality of Lzzy Hale really comes out in this song, the badass, don’t mess with me kind of girl is prominent and I think we need more women role models like that in our world today.
The Silence is the last song on the album and another acoustic song. This one seems to be about a memory of a specific person, a remembrance song. The message in the music video is that “everything will change but we will still remain”. I think it’s a beautiful way to end this album.
In a quick post on her blog from August 2018, Lzzy wrote that “…which in a way, this album IS a diary entry for me. But, even though I put a lot of my personal fears, attitude, secrets, and triumphs into this album, I am proud to say that this collection of emotions is now Yours! I hope you find hope and empowerment and your personal triumphs through listening and reading the lyrics!…”
All in all, I think it’s a great album and would definitely recommend checking it out. I kind of feel like this whole album might be a continuous story and all the songs go well together. You can find it everywhere you usually purchase your music, and you won’t regret the purchase.
You can find all of the song lyrics to this album over on Lzzy’s blog, called “The Diary of Lzzy Hale” (although they’re in reverse order in her posts). You can check out the official playlist from Halestorm’s YouTube channel here.