Halestorm brings power of live shows onto ‘Into the Wild Life’

Stephanie Markham, News Editor

On their third full-length release “Into the Wild Life,” the four musicians of hard rock band Halestorm finally captured the raw power of both sound and emotion present in their live performances that have been previously lost in production.

The album is set for a North American release date of April 14, though the Pennsylvania-based group streamed it online starting Saturday.

The defining charm of the band is the stamina and skill that members have been building up in their live shows since they started Halestorm as children.

Their debut self-titled album introduced the group’s unique personality, giving listeners a mix of songs with sexual innuendos, love stories and some subtly dramatic themes.

The band’s 2012 follow-up “The Strange Case Of…” carried over much of the lyrical sassiness and stretched the group’s song range both in the heavier, hard rock direction and in the more intimate, ballad direction.

However, the fault of Halestorm’s songs up until this point is that, though they are not intentionally trying to be too radio-friendly, the slight overproduction combined with the mass appeal of the band started to lean them more in that direction.

The band even won the Grammy for “Love Bites (So Do I)” off its second album in the Hard Rock/ Metal song category.

But “Into the Wild Life” combines the elements of Halestorm that gives it a mass appeal, such as the members’ willingness to dabble in other genres while maintaining a hard-rock edge and simple, relatable lyrics, and carries them to a whole new dimension. 

When the band tested out one of the new songs from the album, “Mayhem,” during a Chicago summer festival, I can remember being blown away at how completely different the song sounded than anything Halestorm had played before.

“Mayhem” will satiate Halestorm’s more metal-leaning crowd; it gives the message that life is a drag and needs a little mayhem now and then, and it’s the perfect track for singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale to stretch her vocal chords.

The song builds up to an intense ending where she forgoes the scripted lyrics and screams “I wanna feel the walls shake,” over and over until she carries out an extended scream tinged with a mature raspy sound.

Another heavy track is “Apocalyptic,” which is like the “I Get Off” of this album in concept but seemingly hides less behind the guise of “This is actually about how much we love playing music,” and is straight to the point.

On the other end of the spectrum is the song “Amen,” which ventures to entirely new territory in that it is church-themed and bridges on blues-rock.

“Dear Daughter” pulls the album in yet another direction; it is a slowed-down piano song speaking to young girls about confidence and getting through hard times.

“Sick Individual” is probably the most fun song on the album; it has a catchy groove to pull listeners in, then breaks into the chorus, “I’m a sick individual, and I’m doing this thing called whatever the f— I want, want, want.”

Overall, the simpler recording process enhanced this album, matching Halestorm’s powerful stage presence and combining all of the group’s best qualities while maintaining just enough heaviness.

Stephanie Markham is a junior journalism major.

She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].