“Into The Wild Life” is the latest album from Pennsylvania rock band Halestorm.
The group was started by singer Lzzy Hale and her brother, drummer Arejay Hale in 1997. The siblings were 13 and 10 years old at the time, and their father Roger played bass guitar initially, with lead guitarist Leo Nessinger completing the lineup. With Lzzy having taken guitar lessons at 16, the current lineup of the group began to take shape in 2003 with the addition of lead guitarist Joe Hottinger, and with bassist Josh Smith joining the following year.
The band’s debut album “Halestorm”, featuring the brilliant “It’s Not You” single was released in April 2009, and was followed in April 2012 by “The Strange Case Of…” which spawned hit single “Love Bites (So Do I)”. In addition the band have released two cover EPs, “Reanimate” in 2011 and “Reanimate 2.0” in 2013, featuring Halestorm takes on tracks by artists as diverse as Lady Gaga, Guns N’ Roses, Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, Judas Priest and The Beatles.
The band had recorded their first two albums in the way that many bands do these days, which is to say each instrument recorded separately, at different times, and striving to make everything sound as perfect as possible. Undoubtedly that worked, as both records were successful for the band and their international profile has steadily risen over the past few years.
With “Into The Wild Life”, however, the band decided to take a different approach. They aimed to throw everything out the window that made them feel safe, going back to the beginning and adopting a new mindset. Choosing to work with a new producer, Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town, Emmylou Harris) and recording in Nashville. Their goal was to capture performances and moments rather than perfection.
Preceeded by singles “Apocalyptic” and “Amen”, the album is arguably less polished than the previous albums, in production terms, but the end result is excellent. Less immediate, perhaps, than “The Strange Case Of…”, this is nonetheless a very very good hard rock record.
Lzzy’s vocals are excellent, using her full range to great effect. All four musicians are playing brilliantly, and there are some fabulous guitar solos throughout the album. Many of the tracks segue into the next track, which means that the record works much better listened to as a whole, rather than at random – an admirable approach from the band to presenting their music in today’s disposable society, and perhaps underlining their confidence in the complete album rather than a few potential “hit” tracks?
Lzzy herself posted “My insider advice, listen to the record front to back, cuz in a day and age where everyone is freaking out about the state of the music business, we said fuck it, and made an “album”. It’s a snapshot of where we are at in our lives and emotions; all basic tracks done Live just the four of us performing in a circle in a beautiful church in Nashville. We errored on the side of performance and making moments, rather than perfection, bridging the gap between what you’ve heard on previous records and what you see at a live Halestorm show. We are unapologetically stoked to share this with you! Enjoy!”
It’s hard, so early on, to pick highlights from the album – particularly as I do feel that it’s easily the band’s best to date. That said, at this point in time I am really enjoying “I Am The Fire”, the delicate ballad “Dear Daughter”, the crushing “Mayhem”, “Sick Individual”, “Gonna Get Mine”, “What Sober Couldn’t Say” (with it’s lovely Procol Harum style organ work), the rock ‘n’ roll of “Jump The Gun” and “I Like It Heavy”. In truth, though, there isn’t a duff track to be found. Sure, there are different genres on display here – rock, metal, country, rock ‘n’ roll, etc. – but all put together and moulded into the unique sound of Halestorm. Highly recommended!
“Into The Wild” tracklist:
1. Scream / 2. I Am The Fire / 3. Sick Individual / 4. Amen / 5. Dear Daughter / 6. New Modern Love / 7. Mayhem / 8. Bad Girls World / 9. Gonna Get Mine / 10. The Reckoning / 11. Apocalyptic / 12. What Sober Couldn’t Say / 13. I Like It Heavy / 14. Jump The Gun / 15. Unapologetic