Release Date: January 24, 2012
In the three years Halestorm has been tearing up the hard rock and metal circuit, I have yet to find anything not to like, nay, love about this quartet from Pennsylvania. The band’s debut self-titled album was hands down the best debut of 2009, and the best hard rock album of the year. Fast-forward three years of touring, one covers EP and a live album later, and the Halestorm is set to release its long-awaited sophomore album, The Strange Case Of… on April 10.
It’s just like Halestorm to offer up more than a single to tide impatient fans over. Hello, Its Mz Hyde features a quarter of the album’s dozen tracks. The EP kicks off with the single “Love Bites (So Do I)”. It’s immediately clear that any concerns fans night have harbored that the band would let us down with the dreaded sophomore slump, can rest easy. On the band’s covers EP ReAnimate, they covered the Skid Row classic, “Slave To The Grind”. “Love Bites (So Do I)” has that Skid-Grind feel to it. Fast, punchy and aggressive, and as she often does, Lzzy makes good use of sexual innuendo. The band’s years on the road pay obvious dividends with excellent musicianship all around. Lzzy’s vocals, which are already among the best of any genre, really flex here.
The second track, “Rock Show” taps into Lzzy’s personal side. The track is both auto-biographical, and a statement to the fans. She’s immensely in-tune with, and empathetic to, the feelings of the band’s fans. The song is packed with great hooks that latch on and hang with you for days. The song is framed by a very simple but sweet guitar riff. Lzzy’s vocals are very emotive throughout, but there is even a moment of semi-rap on the breakdown that flows brilliantly.
Next up is the arena anthem, “Daughters Of Darkness”. Lzzy’s at her ballsy best. All of the tracks on this EP are stage ready and fan-friendly. They are built for live performance. This track is another that Lzzy sends out to her sisterhood-of-the-storm. Lyrically, she is again quick with a turn of phrase. “We can turn you on, or we can turn on you.” Arejay, as always, has that about-to-come-unhinged feel to his playing, and Joe’s guitar fills add to the memorable aspects of the song.
To wrap this tasty morsel of rock, the band offers up the finger in the air, friends and family jam, “Here’s To Us.” This is the EP’s ballad, but as sweet and sentimental as it feels, the band keeps it very real and down to earth. This track is purely infectious. Another great breakdown, and another arm-waving, lighters and cellphones to the sky, arena-built anthem.
It’s been a long time since any single band has so consistently impressed me. To the point I almost feel unabashedly fan-boyish. I’ve yet to hear them write or cover any song that didn’t, plainly put, kick ass. Okay, perhaps their cover of Temple of the Dog‘s “Hunger Strike” seldom gets a listen from me, but otherwise… (but I never cared for that song to begin with). This is in part a testament to the band’s love of what they do, and their symbiotic relationship with their fans.
If Hello, Its Mz Hyde is a fair indicator of what the other eight tracks of the new album will be like, this could once again be the hard rock album of the year in 2012. While it’s hard to compete with such an impressive debut, it seems the constant touring and camaraderie has helped reap dividends. Halestorm sound more self-assured than ever on these four tracks, and that confidence resonates throughout.
Here’s to April 10th, and here’s to us getting another sonic gem. See you at the rock show!
You can purchase the EP for only $2.99 at HalestormRocks.com. Listen to all four tracks below.
Learn more about the band’s upcoming album and tours Here.