Within the first thirty seconds of popping this CD in my car stereo, my immediate mindset was “wow, this is already a step up from Into The Wild Life“. And boy did it ever hold up! Not saying that Into The Wild Life was bad, but it took longer to grow on me, the songs were a little more hollow, and this just overall has far more energy. Vicious is the newest and fourth effort from America’s own rock n rollers Halestorm, hitting the scene not even a week ago. This album is comprised of super energetic tracks that blow a heavier swing of the ax with a large amount of entheusiasm, and a few softer songs to fill in the cracks. None of the ballady ones come off as corny and serve a great purpose as well as deliver a solid message. Riff wise, it’s hardly a metal album, as the style takes more from the Led Zeppelin blended with the nineties grungier bands garnished with Lzzy Hale Heart like vocal output. It’s very heavy nonetheless.
Actually, her voice is a great place to start, seeing no song fails to give its all from the bottom of her incredible lungs and vocal chords. Album opener “Black Vultures” shows this off immediately with the roaring intro, followed by some intense riffwork and bass backing provided by the boys who construct the solid instrumentation. Even the songs that take a poppier stance, like “Skulls” contain the vicious attitude (no pun intended). The attitude is another thing that drives this release; especially in the realm of tracks that hold speed metal elements. The single “Uncomfortable” brings this in the strongest, with metal driven riffs that chug away under blistering fast vocals.
Lyrically, this is very responsive to issues in society that effect themselves and their crowd alike, which likely is what makes the attitude so sharp. Halestorm also have a lot of sex appeal, and it just wouldn’t be one of their records without it. I’ll admit, the songs that take this on the strongest are probably the cheesier ones, but it’s easily forgivable due to the charisma. “Do Not Disturb” is the most obvious example of this. Songs like “Killing Ourselves To Live” settle down on the crunchiness and focus more on stronger melodies, making this one of my favorite tunes on this disc. “Heart Of Novocaine” is another one that follows this route, but softens down to the balladry standards, and it comes off very majestically. The final touch on this beast the fortitude in Arejay’s drumming, acting as the icing on the cake.
Halestorm is a band that some metal lovers avoid, and draw in a pretty specific crowd, but Vicious could potentially reel in a new crowd. Crushing hard rock with metal influence and softer melodic points is the best way to sum up this disc. I recommend it to anyone who likes heavy music with an attitude.
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